DAMACUS, Dec. 17 (CGTN) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, marking the first such visit by an Arab leader since the civil war broke out nearly eight years ago.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad welcomed the visiting president at the airport. Syria's official Syrian Arab News Agency called the trip "a work visit" and reported that the two leaders held talks in the presidential palace about developments in the region and in Syria.

Assad was quoted as saying that his country would remain committed to Arabism and noted that some Arab countries' dependence on the West will not bring any benefits to their people.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in 2011 after Assad's government failed to abide by an Arab peace plan that aimed to end the conflict.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir hoped that the Syrian people will be able to decide the country's future themselves without any foreign interference.

Although many Arab countries have closed their embassies or downgraded their ties with Damascus, there have been growing calls in the Arab world in recent months to normalize ties with Syria and give it back its seat in the Arab League.

The Arab Parliament last Friday urged the Arab League to reinstate Syria's membership.