The Arab League agreed on Sunday to restore Syria’s membership in the group. The move comes ahead of an upcoming coalition summit in Riyadh on May 19.
The decision was adopted at a closed-door meeting in Cairo of the bloc’s top diplomats, attended by representatives of 13 of the 22 member states. They are all in favor of the move.
In 2011, Syria was banned by the Arab League due to civil unrest in the country, part of a wider Arab Spring upheaval in the region that culminated in a civil war in the country. Most Arab countries severed diplomatic ties with Damascus at the time, and some of them openly supported various opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
During the war years, various insurgents emerged in the country, ranging from the so-called “Moderate Opposition” From militants backed by various foreign actors to internationally recognized terrorists, including the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS). However, Damascus managed to crush most of it, regaining control of the country’s most populous region with the help of the country’s main allies, Russia and Iran.
Turkey-backed militants now control parts of northern Syria, while U.S.-backed Kurdish militias control the country’s northeast, where most of its oil wells remain under the direct control of the U.S. military.
Earlier this week, the foreign ministers of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq met in Amman, where they adopted a joint statement calling for “Ending the Existence of Terrorist Organizations” also “armed group” in Syria.They also called for an end to “Foreign Interference in Syria’s Internal Affairs” and promise “Support Syria and its institutions in establishing control over all of its territory and enforcing the rule of law.”
In recent weeks, there have been signs that the years-long conflict in the region, including hostilities in Syria and Yemen, may be coming to an end thanks to ongoing diplomatic efforts by all sides. Last month, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad made a breakthrough visit to Saudi Arabia, once a major backer of the rebels in the country. After the visit, Riyadh publicly supported the unity and integrity of Syria and a political solution to the 12-year war.
The developments follow China’s mediation of a deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a milestone that has apparently helped reconcile Syria and facilitate peace talks to end the eight-year conflict in Yemen, which has been at the forefront Much has been driven by the rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh.
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