Saudi Arabia is hosting the upcoming summit on Friday.
Syria participated in a preparatory Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday ahead of the bloc’s upcoming summit, with an expected attendance of Bashar Al Assad for the first time in more than a decade.
The meeting was attended by foreign ministers and envoys of the 22-member bloc, including Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad.
Qatar was represented by its permanent representative to the Arab League Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi.
According to Saudi media outlet Al Arabiya, Mekdad confirmed that Assad will attend the upcoming high-level meeting scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia on Friday, dubbed as the “summit of renewal and change”.
Last week, the Arab League re-admitted Syria into the league more than a decade after stripping Damascus off of its membership.
The bloc had suspended Syria’s membership over its violent attacks on peaceful pro-freedom protests in 2011, plunging the country into years of war.
The move came following regional shifts among countries that had once boycotted the regime for its crimes against humanity—namely Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Since 2018, the Assad regime has been on a trajectory to reinstate his authority in the region.
Countries such as Jordan and Tunisia began resuming their economic relations with the regime, opening up their airspaces and recommencing trade.
By 2021, Jordan had normalised with the Assad regime restoring full diplomatic ties, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Oman.
Despite countries in the region rekindling ties in recent years, Qatar has maintained its position in refusing to normalise with Assad.
On Wednesday, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reiterated his country’s stance vis-a-vis normalising with the Syrian regime.
“We do not want to deviate from the Arab consensus regarding Syria’s return to the Arab League and each country has its own decision,” the Qatari official said, speaking alongside Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
The Assad regime created the world’s biggest refugee crisis when it plunged Syria into war by violently cracking down on peaceful pro-democracy protests.
In addition to the shelling of civilians, the Assad regime has carried out horrifying methods of torture, some of which were exposed in 2014 through the Caesar photographs.
Since 2011, the Syrian regime killed more than 600,000 people.