Obamas' are welcome to visit Syria, says nation's First Lady

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Damascus (Syria), July 2 (ANI): Syria's First Lady has told Sky News that she would welcome the Obamas' should they decide to visit the country's capital, Damascus.

Asma al Assad's comments are the latest in a series of signs that US-Syrian relations are improving after years of tension.

"The fact is President Obama is young, and President Assad is also very young as well. So maybe it is time for these young leaders to make a difference in the world," she said.

"I can see myself hosting them in Damascus in the old town, meeting with people, getting a sense of how we live, who we are and what Syria's about," she added.

The comments follow news that America is to send an ambassador to Syria for the first time in four years.

It follows President Obama's offer of a "new beginning" in relations between the US and the Muslim world in general.

Relations were strained under the Bush administration, which regarded Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.

They condemned its support of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups and blamed Damascus for failing to prevent insurgents crossing Syrian borders into Iraq.

Asma al Assad was born and raised in London and only moved to Damascus after marrying Syrian President Bashar al Assad nine years ago.

This week she is launching the latest phase in a youth movement called Massar, which is one of her great passions.

Syria needs to make more progress to benefit its people, she said. (ANI)

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