Alwaght- The United Arab Emirates' de facto ruler Mohammad bin Zayed spoke on the phone with Syria's president Bashar Assad on Friday, signaling a blatant turnabout in the Persian Gulf Arab country's policy towards Damascus.
The official Emirati news agency said Assad and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak and reviewed preventive measures to fight it.
Sheikh Mohammed, believed to be the Emirates’ day-to-day ruler, said Syria and the UAE need to “place the humanitarian solidarity over political issues during this common challenge ‘we are all facing',” according to the report. The crown prince of the oil-rich Abu Dhabi affirmed that Syria “will not be left alone during these delicate and critical circumstances.”
The UAE had been a supporter of the militants during the early years of Syria's war, now in its tenth year. But as the war wound down and with the Syrian army capturing most of the territory that was once lost to the foreign-backed militant and terrorist groups, the UAE and a few Arab countries made openings toward President Assad's government.
In late 2018, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus, for the first time since an organized Arab diplomatic boycott soon after the Syrian war erupted in 2011.
Friday's phone call, however, is the first publicized contact between an Arab leader and President Assad.
Syria's official presidency Twitter account said the crown prince stressed that the UAE will support the “Syrian people during these exceptional times.”