Syria returns to Arab League after 12 long years
The Arab League on Sunday welcomed back the Syrian government to its fold. This marks the end of a more than decade-long suspension and with this President Bashar al-Assad has made a return to the Arab fold after years of isolation.
In an anonymous decision, the group's foreign ministers announced that the "government delegations from the Syrian Arab Republic will resume their participation in Arab League meetings," starting Sunday.
The group's foreign ministers in their statement spoke of their "keenness to launch a leading Arab role in efforts to resolve" the Syria crisis and its "humanitarian, security and political consequences." They also noted that humanitarian aid must reach "all those in need".
Furthermore, they have decided to establish a ministerial committee to continue a "direct dialogue" with the Syrian government with the aim of achieving a comprehensive solution.
As per AFP, the 22-member group had suspended Damascus' participation in November 2011 due to the nation's actions against peaceful protests that started earlier that year. These protests turned into a civil conflict and resulted in the death of over 500,000 individuals, the displacement of millions, and significant damage to the country's infrastructure and industry.
Ever since the war started, President Bashar al-Assad was left politically isolated. However, ahead of an Arab League summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah on May 19, recent weeks saw a flurry of diplomatic activity.
At the beginning of the conflict, a number of Arab countries severed diplomatic relations with Syria, "betting on his demise."
Others, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia as per AFP, even offered assistance to the Syrian opposition.
However, the leader "stubbornly held onto power," and even regained territory that was previously lost during the conflict. Due to this, regional capitals slowly warmed up to him. This acceptance, as per AFP, was further facilitated by the vital support provided by Iran and Russia.
The United Arab Emirates, which resumed diplomatic relations with Damascus towards the end of 2018, has reportedly been taking the lead in the recent push to reintegrate Syria into the Arab community.
An earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria on February 6th of this year further contributed to an Arab outreach to Assad's government.