Saudi appoints Syria ambassador after more than a decade

The official Saudi Press Agency said the government had appointed Faisal bin Saud Al-Mejfel as its ambassador to Syria.
This is a locator map for Saudi Arabia with its capital, Riyadh. (Photo: AP)
This is a locator map for Saudi Arabia with its capital, Riyadh. (Photo: AP)

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AFP) - Saudi Arabia named a new ambassador to Damascus Sunday, state media said, more than a year after the two Arab nations resumed ties following a prolonged rift over Syria's war.

The official Saudi Press Agency said the government had appointed Faisal bin Saud Al-Mejfel as its ambassador to Syria.

The newly appointed envoy, according to the report, said he hoped to "serve the Kingdom's interests and strengthen the bilateral bonds between the two brotherly nations".

In May 2023, Saudi Arabia reopened its diplomatic mission in Damascus, which had been closed since 2012, after a surprise China-brokered rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Also in May last year, Assad attended an Arab League summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah after a 13-year suspension from the regional forum.

A Syrian ambassador began working from Riyadh in December, and Saudi Arabia sent a charge d'affaires to Damascus shortly afterwards.

The kingdom cut ties with Assad's government as a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011 spiralled into a conflict that has since killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions.