Skip to main content

Syria's Assad to emerge from the cold at Arab League summit

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) received Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan in Damascus last month
— Riyadh (AFP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will attend this week his first Arab League summit in 13 years, his foreign minister said Wednesday, signalling regional reintegration after more than a decade of war.

The host of Friday's summit, Saudi Arabia, has championed Assad's return to the pan-Arab body and invited the Syrian leader over the objection of other regional leaders.

The Syrian government had been isolated in the region for years since its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011 triggered a war that has killed more than 500,000 people.

Analysts say Assad's invitation also shows the clout of Saudi Arabia, which is casting itself as a peacemaker and asserting itself in multiple crises across the Middle East.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.