The Cradle
Syria 'fundamental pillar of Arab security': Abu Dhabi Crown Prince
Only 10 years ago, the UAE was one of the many world powers behind the foreign-backed insurgency against the Syrian government
By News Desk - March 19 2022
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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the UAE on 18 March 2022. (Photo credit: WAM/Handout via REUTERS)

During the surprise and unannounced visit by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to the UAE on 18 March – his first visit to an Arab state since 2011 – Al-Assad met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), a one-time supporter of opposition militants in the decade-long Syrian conflict.

During their meeting, MbZ referred to Syria as a “a fundamental pillar of Arab security,” as reported by the Emirates’ state news agency WAM.

“The UAE is keen to strengthen cooperation with Syria to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Syrian people towards stability and development,” the crown prince said.

The visit was the Syrian president’s first trip to an Arab country since the start of the western and Gulf-backed regime change war that began in March 2011.

The UAE was one of the principle backers of armed militant groups seeking to oust Assad, but has recently backtracked as Syria defeated the foreign-backed militants and regained lost territory.

The restoration of ties between the UAE and Syria began in November 2021 when the UAE foreign minister visited President Assad in Damascus.

The visit was condemned by the US, which stated that Washington remains opposed to efforts to rehabilitate and accept the elected Syrian president and his government.

“We urge states considering engagement with the Assad regime to weigh carefully the horrific atrocities visited by the regime on the Syrians over the last decade, as well as the regime’s continuing efforts to deny much of the country access to humanitarian aid and security,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

The UAE has been balancing its relationship between the US and Russia, choosing to ignore the former’s requests to increase oil output to drive the price of oil down following the rapid price rise triggered by the Russian special military operation in Ukraine and subsequent US sanctions on Russia.

WAM reported that the Syrian and Emirati sides discussed the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria, as well as the provision of support for Syria and its people.

MbZ accompanied President Al-Assad to the airport for his return to Syria.