Algeria backs return of Syrian regime to Arab League despite regional pushback – Doha News

The regime killed at least 1,271 civilians, including 229 children, and 104 victims of torture were killed in Syria in 2021 alone.

Algeria expressed its support for the return of the Syrian regime to the Arab League on Monday amid high opposition to its reinstatement in in the bloc, Al Araby Al Jadeed reported.

“Syria’s absence from the Arab League harms cooperation between Arab countries,” Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra told a press conference in Damascus.

Speaking alongside his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, the Algerian foreign minister noted that Syria has been coordinating with various Arab states to “revisit the status” of its membership in the league.

“The atmosphere is very positive regarding Syria’s relationship with its Arab surroundings,” added Lamamra.

Lamamra also met with the Syrian regime’s President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, where they discussed strengthening bilateral ties. 

The Algerian official also handed Assad a message from Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune regarding bilateral ties and preparations of the upcoming Arab League summit.

This comes amid efforts by Algeria to reinstate the Syrian regime’s membership in the regional bloc ahead of the Arab League summit, scheduled to take place in Algiers in November. The high-profile summit will bring together leaders from the Arab world.

President of the National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces of Syria Salem Al Meslet called on Algeria to reconsider its options and commit to the positions of the Arab League.

“It is regrettable how the official Algerian stance is aligned with a regime that is committing the most heinous crimes against Syrian civilians, killing and detaining hundreds of thousands, and displaced millions,” added Al Meslet.

Suspension of regime’s membership

The Syrian regime’s membership was suspended in 2011 for committing flagrant human rights violations against civilians at the height of the Arab Spring. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have all voiced their opposition to the return of the regime to the bloc.

Qatar was among the countries that openly called on Assad to step down since the very beginning of the Syria uprising, and was the first Arab country to shut down its embassy in the war-torn country.

It was also the first to establish a consulate for the Syrian opposition. 

Some of the countries in the region that have warmed towards the Syrian regime include the UAE and Jordan.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that at least 1,271 civilians, including 229 children, and 104 victims of torture were killed in Syria in 2021 alone.

The UN Human Rights Office estimates more than 306,000 civilians were killed over 10 years in the Syria conflict.

Qatar has long called for a political resolution to end the war in Syria as well as the need to ensure the safe return of millions of refugees forced out of their lands in the ongoing war. 

According to the UN, there are 5,724,230 Syrian refugees as of 31 March.

In February, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reiterated his country’s staunch refusal to normalise with the Syrian regime.

Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera that returning Syria to the Arab League “goes back to the host country” and that there have been no decisions on whether Damascus has been invited to attend the senior level meeting in March.

“We, as Qatar, see that there were reasons when the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and those reasons remain until now,” explained Sheikh Mohammed, noting that normalising with Assad would be “unfair to the Syrian nation”.

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