The United Arab Emirates has officially expressed its hope that Bashar al-Assad wins his country's civil war, further cementing a gradual shift by Abu Dhabi and other regional powers back to Damascus after initially supporting efforts to oust the head of the Syrian regime.
The comments by Charge d´affaires Abdul-Hakim Naimi came during a ceremony late on Monday in Damascus to mark UAE´s National Day.
"I hope that safety, security and stability in the Syrian Arab Republic will prevail under the shadow of the wise leadership of Dr. Bashar al-Assad," Naimi told the crowd.
The UAE was a supporter of the Syrian opposition, which is now largely confined to the northern Idlib province after losing its strongholds elsewhere.
In December 2018, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus for the first time in seven years, a reflection of improved relations between Assad and some of his Arab foes as the Syrian regime gains more ground in the war-torn country.