The story: Relations between Bashar Al-Assad and Gulf Arab states continue to get warmer. The Syrian president has been hosted by his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ) in Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, Saudi and Syrian security officials have reportedly met to advance a normalization of ties. This follows speculations that Damascus and Riyadh may reopen their embassies next month. The stepping up of Gulf Arab engagement is widely viewed as part of an effort to distance Syria from Iran’s orbit.
The coverage: The Emirates News Agency (WAM) published a readout of the meeting between Assad and MbZ on Mar. 19. Of note, the trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed the Syrian president’s official visit to Oman last month.
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