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A win for Assad? UAE reopens embassy in Syria 'after a careful reading of the developments'

Arab nation restores diplomatic ties with Damascus after years of estrangement

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Syria, with officials announcing Thursday that the decision was made "after a careful reading of developments" in the war-torn country.

Several Arab nations shuttered their consulates in Damascus in 2011 in protest of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's treatment of rebel factions as the country spiraled into civil war; but the UAE's return signals Assad's re-emerging strength, according to Reuters.

What are the details?

Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted that his country's decision "to return to its political and diplomatic work in Damascus comes after a careful reading of the developments." He added that "the Arab role in Syria is becoming more necessary."

The Telegraph reported that Bahrain may also reopen its embassy in Damascus next week, citing Syrian state media.

What's the background?

The UAE previously backed anti-Assad forces, but has done an apparent about-face as the Syrian president seems poised to regain full control of the nation's sovereign territories. With the support of Russia and Iran, Assad has taken back all but the northeastern region along Turkey's border — where U.S. troops currently fight in a coalition against ISIS with Kurdish forces.

President Donald Trump recently announced that all American military personnel will be gradually withdrawn from Syria beginning in a matter of weeks, while Turkey is amassing tanks and armored vehicles in preparation for stepping into the territory after the U.S. leaves.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the northeastern region should be returned to the control of the Syrian government. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also told reporters that the expected U.S. pullout would be helpful, saying, "If the troop withdrawal happens, it would have a positive impact on the situation."

One last thing…
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