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Syrian Assad arrives in UAE for official visit – state media

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DUBAI, March 19 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday for an official visit, accompanied by his wife Asma al Assad . Quarantine Damascus.

This visit was more ceremonial than his last trip Last year, he traveled to the United Arab Emirates, his first trip to an Arab country since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, when Gulf states, including the UAE, backed rebels to oust Assad.

President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan met him when he arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday and accepted him as his motorcade entered the palace, state media said. A salute was fired. Assad’s plane was greeted by Emirati fighter jets.

As an ally of the United States, the UAE has led the Middle East’s shift towards restoring relations with Assad, who has Oman Last month, he made his first foreign trip since devastating earthquakes hit Syria and Turkey, and visited Russia earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and (to a lesser extent) the United Arab Emirates have backed the rebels in their fight to overthrow Assad. Despite U.S. opposition, Abu Dhabi has re-established ties with Damascus in recent years as it looks to counter the influence of Iran, which, along with Russia, backs Assad in the Syrian conflict.

Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which recently agreed protocol Bilateral relations resumed with rival Iran, for possible dialogue With Damascus, say the Arab consensus is building and isolating Syria is not going to work.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Editing by David Goodman and Raissa Kasolowsky

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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