The consolidation of Syrian military’s positions across the country and the withdrawal of foreign-backed militants from their strongholds have fuelled speculations that Saudi Arabia is considering shifting its policy towards Syria, a report says. A recent report released by the Lebanese As-Safir daily has suggested a likely withdrawal of Saudi Arabia from among the list of foreign states that are funding and supporting the Syrian opposition. The Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah’s recent meetings with Syrian officials along with Jordanian intelligence officers seem to have provided apparent proof for the case. The paper touches upon Riyadh’s worries over the intensification of the crisis across Syria and the Egyptian and Saudi foreign ministers' willingness for a political resolution of Syrian crisis, which is deemed as a major shift in the two states’ stance on Syria.
Communication is currently under way between Riyadh and Damascus with an Egyptian security delegation visiting Syrian officials in the capital, according to the report.The speculation comes after Riyadh’s estimations about Syria turned out to be wrong and the extremist Salafi groups started creating problems for the Saudi government, particularly a recent explosion in Saudi capital for which they were blamed. Syria, however, has rejected any compromise with Saudi officials unless the Arab kingdom puts an end to funding and militarizing the terrorists. The Syrian government has also called for the withdrawal of foreign-backed militants from the country, the report went on to say. Syria’s 22-month-long resistance and the dangerous consequences of Salafists’ actions for Riyadh and Washington seem to be the major reasons behind the alteration of the Saudi approach toward Syria. Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a large number of the militants in Syria are foreign nationals. Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes in Syria. AO/PKH