Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called for the expansion of the 'Axis of Resistance,' as the alliance seemingly continues to consolidate power in the region.
According to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Assad's special advisor Buthaina Shaaban made the announcement on Thursday in a speech at a ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
The 'Axis of Resistance' is an alliance of countries in the Middle East and beyond which proclaim their resistance to the hegemony of Western powers and "imperialism."
It consists primarily of the governments of Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, as well as a number of Iran-backed Shia militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen.
There are Palestinian resistance groups which are affiliated and linked with – though not entirely part of – that axis, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Speaking on behalf of Assad, Shaaban stated that the president expressed the need to "work to strengthen communication, harmony and integration in this axis." To that end, she proclaimed that "the rail and power network between Iran, Iraq and Syria may be a good start to link the countries of the region with open relations."