Syria’s Readmission to Arab League

The Middle East have always been an important strategic region, as it connects West with Asia. Not only as a producer of oil and gas but it has also provided transit trade routes to the world, for instance, Suez Canal. Apart from its strategic importance, this region hosts major conflicts in world. War on terror in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel – Palestine conflict and menace of ISIS are few among others. In recent times the Syrian conflict drew attentions of the world when news of its readmission to Arab League made headlines in the mainstream and social media. Syria is a country of almost 21.32 million people according to the 2021 estimates. It is situated in the Middle East sharing borders with Israel on the South, Jordan on the East, Iraq on the South East and Turkey on the North while Mediterranean Sea lies in its West, enhancing its strategic location. War-torn Syria stole lime light after Arab spring when a deadly civil war broke out in the entire country. After the start of war, Syria was isolated due to Bashar-al Assad’s crackdown on the anti-government protests in 2011.

   Before diving deep into contemporary developments in Arab world, one needs to understand history of Syrian conflict briefly. The region where Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Turkey are situated is the oldest inhabited place on Earth. This region has hosted majority of Messengers of Allah and hence is the birthplace of all three Abrahamic religions: Muslims, Christianity and Judaism. The state of Syria came under colonial rule after World War 1 when Ottoman Empire collapsed and French forces entered into this region. French rule lasted till 1945-46 and Syria gained independence in 1945. After remaining independent for a decade Syria joined the United Arab Republic comprised of Egypt and Syria. This unity lasted few years and Syria seceded in 1961 following a coup d’état. In 1960s and 1970s Syria witnessed turmoil, instability, emergency and military rules. The tussle between Shia (Alwites) and Sunnis (Baathist party) deprived Syria of a sound leadership. Saleh Jadid was ousted by his defence minister Hafez Al Assad in 1970. After throwing out Saleh Jadid in 1970 the then defence minister Hafez al Assad became president of Syria and his reign lasted until his death in 2000. Here begins the problem. The son of late Hafez al Assad- Bashar al Assad- was elected president of Syria unopposed in 2000. Bashar al Assad continued the legacy of his father and controlled his party and country in efficient manners. But the Arab spring of 2011 changed the course of domestic politics as marginalised majority Sunnis stood up against Bashar al Assad’s harsh and discriminatory politics.

   During this civil war which is continue till date thousands of people lost lives and countless went missing along with a large number of people migrated to Europe and nearby states such as Turkey. Dynamics of conflicts are changing and hopes are high for resolution of this decade old civil war. Among many positive signals, the Syria’s re admission to Arab league is a green signal from other Arab nations to accelerate the peace process in war torn Syria.

Syria’s Readmission to Arab League:

The volatile region of Middle East witnessed significant changes in recent years, for instance, normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel and Saudi-Iran rapprochement. In a recent development on 08th May 2023, Arab league welcomed back the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad and ended the 11 year long isolation. In the wake of 2011 Arab spring Bashar-al-Assad suppressed dissented voices with cruelty and therefore Arab league, predominantly governed on the directions of Saudi Arabia, suspended the membership of Syria. Experts claim that this development is part of MBS’vision of normalising ties with Middle Eastern states including Qatar and Iran. The recent meet-up of ministers of this key Arab body reiterated their eagerness to put forward their efforts for resolution of this conflict and avert unwanted consequences of humanitarian, political, and security crises.

   The ministerial body of Arab league issued a statement which emphasised the importance of formation of a committee to carry on dialogues with Syrian government in order to find a peaceful solution. The head of Arab league Ahmed Aboul Ghiet said that ‘this decision will help Arab states to understand the problem comprehensively”. And some members of this body termed this decision as a “start rather than an end of the conflict resolution”. Adding to it Mr. Ahmed left the matter of normalising the ties with Syria on the individual states.

   The officials from Syrian side welcomed the decision and said that “this decision will lead to the next stage of constructive engagement based on respect and mutual trust”. Apart from Arab league few individual states were trying to normalise ties with Syria. The economic, logistical and financial support from Qatar and the UAE are few examples.

   The role of great powers for instance the USA and Russia have always remained crucial in the Syrian conflict. Russia supports Basher-al-Assad regime economically and militarily while on other hand the USA supports Syrian Democratic Forces which are fighting against Basher’s forces. Turkey also has its border conflicts with Syria especially on the matter of Kurdish minority. This exasperating farrago has created a mess in Syria. The aforementioned great powers and neighbouring states have not played any positive role for conflict resolution. This decision of Syrian readmission back into the Arab fold will at least provide Syria a platform to mend its fences will regional state.


Syria which is a victim of civil unrest, terrorism, humanitarian crisis, and war is set to see a beacon of hope nearly after a decade. The positive development of Syrian readmission to Arab fold shows the eagerness of Arab states to end decade old civil war in Syria and to find peaceful solution which would be acceptable to all minority groups.

Allah Nawaz
Allah Nawaz
Graduate of Social Sciences from Bahria University Islamabad. I write for different platforms on topics related to security, strategic studies, and international affairs