The Arab Summit concluded with the Jeddah Declaration, named after the Saudi city in which it was held. The document includes two paragraphs on Syria, which returned to the Arab League for its 32nd meeting.
The words marked the end of exile for Damascus as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad attended among other Arab leaders.
The third paragraph of the declaration warmly welcomed Syria's return, expressing hope that it will contribute to preserving the country's territorial integrity and enabling it to regain its natural role within the Arab world.
The importance of assisting Syria in overcoming its crisis is also emphasised, in line with the common Arab interest.
The Syrian civil war has presented the Arab world with a complex international situation and two possible courses of action.
What happens next will be key.
Two courses of action
The first option involves permanently boycotting al-Assad, thus allowing Iranian influence to persist and grow in Syria. This approach would result in continued diplomatic isolation, financial blockade due to US sanctions, and impede the emergence or reconstruction of a new Syria.
It would also mean, in effect, that the Syrian people would continue to endure immense suffering.
An alternative path – call it the Arab option – entails reluctantly restoring relations with the al-Assad regime while seeking ways to counter the expanding Iranian influence within Syria.
The key question is whether the necessary conditions for the success of the Arab option still exist in Syria. In other words, does the regime possess the independence required to distance itself from Tehran?
Or is the Arab option, for joint action to address the crisis, based on a flawed premise that there is a way to influence Damascus without going through Tehran.
Regardless of the level of wider Arab support al-Assad may receive, it is unlikely that he will request the withdrawal of Iranian militias from Syria.
For Iran, the presence of these militias is of existential importance, as they ensure Syria remains aligned against its adversaries.