Representatives of Austria and the Syrian education system met to discuss furthering scientific cooperation between them, as Vienna continues to be one of the outliers amongst its other European neighbours in regards to its diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
According to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the Rector of Damascus University, Dr Mohammad Osama Al-Jabban, met with the Head of the Austrian Embassy in Damascus, Dr Peter Krois, to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in the field of educational and scientific studies.
Jabban and Krois primarily talked on the possibility of the Austrian embassy and government assisting Damascus University's German language department, with training staff a particular point of interest. They also considered providing the department with books and cultural publications, as well as organising visits to further cooperation in cultural and scientific fields.
Dr Jihad Abboud, the Head of the German Language Department at the University, who was also present at the meeting, echoed those proposals and reiterated the need for the Austrian embassy's assistance. Krois reportedly agreed with the proposals and stated his and the embassy's readiness to assist the department and the Syrian education system in those fields.
Austria remains one of the only European nations to maintain a diplomatic presence in Syria and ties with the Assad regime, after most other Western nations closed and evacuated their embassies and cut off diplomatic ties following the Syrian authorities' brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors in 2011 and the ensuing Syrian Revolution and civil war.