Conservative Arab states led by Saudi Arabia are mending ties with Syria to restore a semblance of unity ahead of an Arab summit to be held in Qatar later this month.

Earlier this month, al-Assad met King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, in Riyadh, marking a thaw in Syria's Arab relations after almost four years of hostility.

Jordan and its allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt are alarmed at Iran's influence in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza and accuse Syria of backing groups like Hezbollah.