Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has held a breakthrough meeting with his Syrian counterpart in the Syrian capital Damascus, The Guardian reported on May 4.
The unfriendly history of the relations between Saudi Arabi and Syria highlights the importance of the recent meeting. The Saudi delegation which attended the meeting was led by Gen. Khalid Humaidan, head of the General Intelligence Directorate. The Syrian side was represented by Gen. Ali Mamlouk, head of the National Security Bureau.
The Kingdom was among the first Arab countries to severe its relations with Damascus and voice its support for the 2011 upraising. Later, Riyadh played a key role in financing and arming rebels in Syria.
Officials in Riyadh told the Guardian that the Kingdom may restore its relations with Damascus shortly after the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival that will mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in a week from now.
“It’s been planned for a while, but nothing has moved,” one of the officials told the British daily. “Events have shifted regionally and that provided the opening.”
The Guardian’s information are in line with a recent report by Rai al-Youm, which was the first to report on the Saudi-Syrian meeting in Damascus.
In its report, London-based news outlet alleges that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the breakthrough meeting in Damascus. The outlet also claims that that a wider meeting will be held after Eid al-Fitr and that Saudi Arabia will support Syria’s return to the Arab League.
In the last few years, many reports in the Arab and international media talked about a rapprochement between Saudi Arabi and Syria. Yet, these reports didn’t materialized.
The restoration of relations with Saudi Arabia would be a major political win for Damascus. The step may also help boost the struggling economy of the war-torn country.