Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the architect of the country's attempts to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been removed from his post, state media reported Tuesday.

His departure, months after he was quoted warning of a "major shift" from the United States over its Middle East policy, may help to smooth relations with Washington as the Saudi government pushes for more U.S. support for Syrian rebels.

Prince Bandar was replaced on an interim basis by a deputy.

"Prince Bandar was relieved of his post at his own request, and General Youssef al-Idrissi was asked to carry out the duties of the head of general intelligence," state news agency SPA said. - AP