Iran resumed on Sunday religious flights to Damascus, two years after they were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first flight carried 25 tourists who will stay in the Syrian capital for five days.
The trips restarted after Iranians received the full approval of Syrian authorities, pledging to take all precautionary and medical measures against COVID-19.
Two trips will follow: the second will arrive in Damascus at the end of this week, while a third will follow early next week.
Each flight will carry 25 passengers from Iran. Sources in Damascus said Tehran will cover all travel expenses.
The Iranians will visit the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zaynab south of Damascus. The overcrowded predominantly Shiite area is home to the families of pro-Iran militias.
“There are about 13,000 beds in the Zaynabiya area ready to accommodate visitors,” said Syrian Tourism Minister Muhammad Rami Martini, who indicated that there are many hotels in Damascus ready to provide services to visitors if the need arises.
More flights can also be operated if the need arises, he added.
Martini had expressed the keenness of Interior Minister Mohammad al-Rahmoun to resume religious visits by Iranians to Syria.
In 2020, Syria stopped religious flights coming from Iran as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
A week ago, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, Alireza Rashidian, announced that Tehran will resume sending religious visitors to Syria, IRNA reported.