Diplomatic sources told AFP on Thursday that Saudi Arabia has sidelined its intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, by transferring key aspects of the Syrian dossier, which he had previously been overseeing, to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
A Western diplomat in the Gulf region told the news agency that Prince Bandar is no longer in charge of the Syrian dossier, leaving Prince Nayef primarily responsible.
According to a source close to the dossier, Prince Nayef participated in a meeting last week in Washington between Western and Arab officials to discuss the situation in Syria.
Diplomatic sources added that Washington has criticised Prince Bandar's management of the Syrian dossier.
Prince Bandar, the son of the former Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, was appointed in July 2012 as the head of the Saudi Intelligence Service. He had previously served as the Saudi Ambassador to Washington for 22 years and played a key role in encouraging the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003.
The Saudi media have not covered any activity of Prince Bandar's since January.
A diplomatic source told AFP that he was hospitalised recently in the United States and is currently in Morocco.
Media aligned with the Syrian regime have accused him of backing extremists in Syria.
Prince Nayef is the son of the former Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, and is playing a major role in the war being waged by Saudi Arabia against terrorism and Al-Qaeda.