Syrian National Security Bureau chief Ali Mamlouk has visited Riyadh for an unusual sit-down with Saudi deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, according to a report in a leading pro-Assad Lebanese newspaper.
Al-Akhbar reported Friday morning that Russian President Vladimir Putin brokered the sit-down between Mamlouk—who is one of Assad’s top advisors—and Prince Mohammad, who also serves as Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and is the son of King Salman.
Russia then proceeded to fly Mamlouk to Riyadh, where he held an ice-breaking meeting with Prince Mohammad in which the two agreed to keep the newly established channel of communication open.
According to the report, Mamlouk appealed for Saudi Arabia to change its policy on Syria, while the Saudi deputy crown prince voiced Saudi fears over Iran’s rising influence on the Assad regime.
The report in Al-Akhbar mirrored an account published last Thursday by As-Safir—another leading pro-Damascus Lebanese daily—which said that Russia was working to open talks between Riyadh and Damascus, with Mamlouk serving as an envoy.
Syrian regime and Saudi news outlets have made no mention of the reported meeting.
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Relire : Un prince séoudien en visite à Moscou.