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Syria’s return to Arab League to happen soon: Former chief

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa (Photo by AFP)

Former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa says restoration of Syria’s membership in the 22-member regional organization is not far away, amid signs that many Arab countries are ready to re-establish ties with Damascus as the Syrian government is taking final steps to reclaim full control over the country.

“Syria is an Arab country, and will return to its seat in the Arab League in the near future,” Moussa told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Monday on the sidelines of the 9th Valdai Discussion Club’s Middle East Conference in the Russian capital city of Moscow.

He added, “The role of the League is still very important. Even though we are talking about a new Arab and regional system, we cannot turn our back on the existing forum as long as such an ideal has not been achieved. The Arab League is still the only forum that brings together Arab states.”

The former Egyptian foreign minister highlighted that the Arab League can handle the problems that the Arab world is facing, and settle disputes among Arab countries.

“The Arab League can play a major role in resolving Arab crises, whether through mediation or joining other international powers dealing with such conflicts,” Moussa said.

Back in February 2019, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said his country will eventually return to the Arab League, stressing that the Damascus government will never surrender to blackmail or accept conditions for the restoration of its membership to the regional organization.

"Those who are trying to ignore Syria or to impose conditions for its return to the Arab League will not succeed, since Syria will not surrender to blackmail and is not primarily concerned with anything other than its domestic problems,” Mekdad said.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria denounced the move as "illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

In January 2019, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui called on the Arab League to restore Syria’s membership, saying the “natural place” of the country is within the organization. 

The issue of possible restoration of Syria’s membership to the Arab League comes as Syria’s General Command of the Army and Armed Forces announced in a statement on Monday that government forces had established full control over tens of villages and towns in the western and northwestern countryside of the country’s embattled northwestern province of Aleppo.

The statement listed some of the liberated towns and villages as Sheikh Ali, Urum al-Kubrah, Urum al-Sughra, Kafr Naya, Kfar Dael, Kafr Hamrah, Babis, A'wejel, Haritan, Hayyan, Anadan and Bayanoun.

Last month, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates wrote to the United Nations, stressing that the operation in Idlib and Aleppo against Takfiri elements "will not stop until the elimination of those terrorists, who threaten safety and security of Syrian civilians."

The Syrian offensive against militants in Idlib began on August 5, 2019, after those positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.

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