Damascus (AINA) -- The Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, Yonathan Betkolia, met yesterday with Hamoudeh Sabbagh, the recently elected Speaker of the People's Council of Syria in Damascus . Mr. Sabbagh is also an Assyrian. Mr. Betkolia is the Assyrian representative in the Parliament of Iran.
The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) is an umbrella organization for Assyrian organizations throughout the world.
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In the meeting, Mr. Betkolia expressed his delight that after nearly 70 years a second Assyrian had been elected as the Speaker of the Parliament in Syria. The two sides exchanged views on the current situation in the region and the importance of stability and peace throughout the Middle East. Mr. Betkolia conveyed AUA's heartfelt congratulations to Speaker Sabbagh on his historic election and wished him success in his new role.
Mr. Betkolia and Mr. Sabbagh discussed the atrocities committed by ISIS against the Assyrians in Syria, including kidnapping of civilian and clergy, occupation of villages and the destruction of Assyrian churches and archaeological sites. Mr. Betkolia invited Mr. Sabbagh to Iran's Urmia region to view the Assyrian villages and historic churches in the area. Mr. Sabbagh was very open to the idea and the two sides pledged to continue dialogue.
Mr. Betkolia also met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.