US ‘profoundly disappointed’ as UAE welcomes Syrian dictator Assad

The visit was the latest sign of warming relations between Syria and energy-rich UAE, a key US ally.

It came as Russia, which backs Damascus and also has solid ties with the Emirates, pressed its war on Ukraine.

Like most Arab countries, the UAE broke ties with Damascus in 2012, following the brutal repression of anti-government protests and the eruption of civil war.

But it reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital in December 2018, suggesting an effort to bring Assad’s regime back into the Arab fold.

Last year, it called for Syria’s return to the Arab League, which had suspended its membership after the onset of the war.

And in November, the UAE’s top diplomat met Assad in Damascus, a move slammed by the US.

On Friday, Assad and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto ruler, discussed the “fraternal relations” between the two countries, the official news agency WAM reported.

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