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Syria President to attend Arab summit in Saudi Arabia

Syria's Assad in Saudi after 12 years of diplomatic isolation

May 18, 2023 at 10:24 pm

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is heading to Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to attend the Arab League’s 32nd Summit, which will be held on Friday, 19 May, in his first visit to the Kingdom since before the outbreak of the 2011 uprising.

The official Syrian news agency, SANA, reported that Assad’s participation in the Arab Summit comes after he received an official invitation from the Saudi King, Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

The move is set to be Syria’s official return to the League after the latter announced on 7 May that it would end a 12-year freeze of the Syrian membership in the 22-member organisation.

Saudi-Syrian relations had been severed since the 2011 revolution and the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on protests. Thousands of citizens have been killed and millions displaced in an uprising that spiralled into a civil war.

Last week, both countries agreed on re-opening their embassies, a move that comes after multiple Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have restored ties with the Assad regime.

Some other countries, including Qatar, are still refraining from resuming relations with the Syrian government.

READ: Syria Assad to steal spotlight at Arab Summit after years in the cold