Top Syrian official visits Saudi Arabia
Syria’s National Security chief Major General Ali Mamlouk has reportedly paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, amid promising signs that the incumbent Damascus government led by President Bashar al-Assad is being admitted back into the Arab world after nearly eight years of foreign-sponsored militancy.
Mamlouk, one of Assad’s most senior advisers, visited the oil-rich conservative kingdom a few days ago and explored avenues for the rapprochement of diplomatic relations between Damascus and Riyadh, Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Joumhouria reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper, citing unnamed diplomatic sources, added that the visit took place late last month, shortly after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain opened their embassies in the Syrian capital.
The sources highlighted that Saudi Arabia is preparing itself for the strategic change, and that the kingdom’s volte-face is either because it has come to terms with realities on the ground or it aims to distance the Syrian government from Iran.
On December 28, 2018, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that work at the kingdom’s embassy “in the Syrian Arab Republic is going on whilst the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Kingdom of Bahrain is carrying out its duties and flights connecting the two countries are operational without interruption.”