WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia has offered Russian President Vladimir Putin some economic incentives to withdraw support from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Reuters reports the deal includes a major arms deal and a pledge to not challenge Russian gas sales, but only if Russia drops their support for Assad and his government forces.
Syria is embroiled in a two-year-old civil war between the Assad regime and his supporters, who are the minority Alawite tribe, and anti-government rebels whose base includes disaffected Islamists, al-Qaeda sympathizers and others.
Russia has been a major backer of Assad and has not backed down from that position over the course of the civil war. They blocked any possible United Nations Security Council resolutions condemning Assad, who has overseen a civil war that has displaced thousands of refugees and killed over 100,000 people.
Iran has also supported Assad and backs Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a U.S.-labeled terrorist group and has entered the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad and his government.
These refugees have fled to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Israel has said it will not enter the civil war, while Jordan is trying to keep peace and maintain order. Lebanon is exploding at the seams with dissent between Lebanese over Hezbollah’s entrance into the civil war.