Saudi Arabia to invite Syria's Assad to Arab leaders' summit, sources say

Saudi Arabia to invite Syria’s Assad to Arab leaders’ summit, sources say

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Assad’s presence at the Arab League summit would mark the most significant development in his rehabilitation within the Arab world since 2011, when Syria was suspended from the organization. Assad was ostracized by many Western and Arab states for his brutal crackdown on protests – violence that led to a protracted civil war.

Syria’s return to the 22-member body will be mostly symbolic but it may reflect a change in regional attitudes towards the Syrian conflict. Millions of people have died in the war, which attracted many foreign powers and left the country divided.

Last month sources told Reuters that Riyadh and Damascus had reached an agreement to reopen their embassies after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Saudi Foreign Ministry did not confirm an agreement had been reached, but said it was in talks with the Syrian Foreign Ministry to resume consular services.

One of the three sources said a list of Saudi Arabian demands for the Syrian government as a condition for improving ties, including closer cooperation on border security and drug trafficking, has been under discussion for more than a year.

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