Assad to attend first Arab League summit since start of Syria war

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is to attend an Arab League summit for the first time since it was suspended from the regional body 12 years ago, the BBC reports.

Mr Assad was shunned by many fellow leaders after the civil war that saw many killed. Syria was readmitted this month after states which had backed the opposition accepted his grip on power was secure.

They include summit hosts Saudi Arabia.

The rapprochement accelerated following the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and north-western Syria in February, when once-hostile powers decided to send humanitarian aid to Syrian government-controlled areas.

Large parts of the country are still held by Turkish-backed rebels, jihadists, and Kurdish-led militia fighters supported by the United States.

Half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22 million have had to flee their homes. Some 6.8 million people are internally displaced, while another 6 million are refugees or asylum-seekers abroad.

Even before the earthquake struck an estimated 15.3 million people inside Syria were in need of some form of humanitarian assistance – an all-time high since the war began.

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