Middle EastSaudi Arab

Saudi Arabia signals inclination to resume ties with Syria

Saudi Arabia has signaled its inclination to restore ties with Syria as years-long anti-Damascus policies spearheaded by the regime in Riyadh and its regional allies have fallen flat.

The permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdullah Bin Yahya al-Muallami, said in an interview with Russia Today that the relations between Riyadh and Damascus could be restored simply on any day and any moment “if the Syrian crisis ended and the Syrian factions agreed on the future directions in the country.”

The Saudi diplomat also said that Syria must “one day” return to the Arab League.

The 22-member regional organization suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Asked on the possibility of reopening the kingdom’s embassy in Damascus alongside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), al-Muallami said, “There is currently no similar step in the near future because the time has not come yet.”

Syrian media announced in January that Saudi Arabia intended to restore relations with the government of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, with reports indicating that al-Muallami had officially invited his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Jaafari, to attend a special ceremony ahead of Riyadh’s presidency of the G20 Summit in December last year.

Saudi Arabia’s main regional ally, the UAE declared the re-opening of its embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus in December 2018. Bahrain said shortly after that its embassy there and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama had been operating “without interruption.”

The UAE, Bahrain, and Oman also resumed flights to Damascus last January.

The restoration of the Arab League’s diplomatic ties with Damascus comes at the time of widening rift between the member states as the war in Syria winds down with the army capturing most of the territory that was once lost to Takfiri terrorists.

The Syrian military is now engaged in a months-old operation to liberate the last major terrorist-held areas in the country.

Idlib province, home to Turkish-backed elements, and the neighboring Aleppo province are the only large areas in the hands of terrorists after the Syrian military managed to undo the militant gains and bring back almost all of Syrian soil under government control.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.


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