Turning point in the Syrian peace process

The Arab League (AL) has decided to restore Syria's membership and agreed to establish a liaison committee to seek a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis. These efforts are expected to accelerate the peaceful resolution of the conflict, which has entered its 13th year in the Middle Eastern country.
A meeting of the AL on May 7, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS)
A meeting of the AL on May 7, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS)

At an extraordinary closed-door meeting in Egypt, the League’s foreign ministers approved a decision to restore Syria's membership, which was suspended after a conflict broke out in the Middle Eastern country in 2011. The AL established a ministerial liaison committee on Syria, consisting of representatives from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and the AL Secretary-General.

The League agreed on a step-by-step approach to solving the crisis, under which the newly formed committee will monitor the situation and liaise closely with the Syrian Government, stakeholders and the international community, to discuss this matter.

The crisis in Syria has become the main topic of many regional discussions in recent times. The extraordinary meeting of the AL came a week after the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria met in the Jordanian capital of Amman, to discuss the conflict in Syria. Last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and eight Arab countries participated in a consultation to ease the isolation of Syria. The delegates to the meeting stressed the leading role of the Arab world, in making efforts to end the crisis in Syria.

It is also easy for international public opinion to see signs of "thawing" appearing more and more in relations between Syria and other countries in the region. Following over a decade of tensions, Syria and Tunisia agreed to reopen their embassies in each country.

On April 12, during the first visit of a Syrian Foreign Minister to Saudi Arabia since 2011, the two sides agreed to consume consular services and flights between the two countries. Soon after, on April 18, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud arrived in the capital Damascus, for the first visit of the Saudi Foreign Minister to Syria in 12 years.

Top diplomats of Turkey and Syria held a turning point on May 10, in the Russian capital Moscow, the first formal meeting since 2011.

Ankara and Damascus have maintained very few official channels of communication since the conflict broke out in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently hinted at holding a summit to build regional peace, under the presence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, a meeting of heads of state between Turkey, Russia, Iran and Syria, is likely to be held in 2023, discussing issues related to Syria.