Regional Isolation of Syria May End Soon

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Saudi Arabia may invite Syria to attend the upcoming Arab League summit in Riyadh in May, reinforcing the trend of Syria’s reintegration into regional politics after over a decade of isolation.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed in 2012 when Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Syria, claiming that the Bashar Assad government had killed civilians during anti-government protests and the ensuing civil war.

Later, Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates openly supported U.S. calls to provide armaments and other aid to the anti-Assad forces and asked for his removal from power.

While not officially confirmed, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is likely to visit Damascus in the coming weeks to formally invite Syria to the summit. The Arab League summit is scheduled for May 19.

Saudi Arabia and Syria have agreed to reopen their respective embassies in Damascus and Riyadh after Ramadan this year.

While the civil war is still ongoing, the Syrian government—with the support of Russia and Iran—has been able to regain control over most of the country’s territory. There are already talks of Turkey withdrawing support to the remaining rebels who control a part of northwest Syria.

With the certainty that Assad will win the war, Russia has been pushing for a Syrian rapprochement with other Arab countries, and the Saudi moves toward the country may be attributed to that effort. However, there is little doubt that this is part of a larger realignment in the region’s politics.


Peru Announces Definitive Withdrawal of Ambassador From Colombia

Peru President Dina Boluarte Colombia President Gustavo Petro

On March 29, Peru’s de facto government, led by Dina Boluarte, announced the “definitive withdrawal” of its ambassador from Colombia following statements from Colombian President Gustavo Petro in support of ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo.

The Peruvian Foreign Ministry stated that the decision was made in response to “the repetitive interventionist and offensive comments” from President Petro, arguing that he had been “distorting the reality” by ignoring what happened on December 7, 2022.

On that date, Castillo was ousted in a legislative coup and subsequently arrested after he tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. He has since been imprisoned in the Barbadillo prison in Lima.

Boluarte’s March 29 decision came days after Petro lamented Castillo’s absence at the Ibero-American Summit, which took place on March 24 and 25 in the Dominican Republic. Petro said, “[Pedro Castillo] should have been here, [but] he is in prison. They took him out with a coup.”

Since Castillo’s forcible removal and illegal arrest, Petro has called several times for the former president’s immediate release and criticized the Boluarte government for violating his political rights. Petro has also been vocal against the brutal repression unleashed by the Boluarte government against the tens of thousands of Peruvians who have been in the streets for the past three and a half months demanding her resignation, the closure of the right-wing-dominated Congress, advanced general elections by the end of the year, and a referendum on a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.

Leaders of other nations have also supported Castillo against the Peruvian right wing, including Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Argentina.


Tragedy in Ciudad Juárez Highlights Dangers Faced by Migrants

On the night of March 27, at least 39 migrants from various Central and South American countries died after a fire broke out in the dormitory of a migrant center in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Due to the “Safe Third Country” immigration agreement, signed with the U.S. under threats of economic sanctions during the government of former President Donald Trump, the Mexican government has been stepping up efforts to contain irregular migration flow to the U.S. Almost all centers operated by the National Institute of Migration (INM) are overcrowded.

The Mexican authorities have urged the U.S. government several times to commit funds to Central America and southern Mexico to boost development and curb migration as well as to implement measures making it easier for migrants to get jobs in the U.S. However, the Biden administration has yet to take concrete measures to address the crisis.

Images released in the aftermath of the fire showed dozens of lifeless bodies covered in silver thermal blankets on the ground outside the facility. Video footage showed emergency workers attending to survivors gasping for breath.

The fire is considered to be one of the deadliest ever to hit a migration center in Mexico. The tragic event has once again highlighted the multitude of dangers facing the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees who set off on perilous journeys to the U.S. each year to escape extreme poverty, unemployment, and a lack of opportunities in their countries in the hope of a better life.

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