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Syria’s Assad Visits UAE as Arab Isolation Eases

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, meets with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Abud Dhabi on March 18.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, meets with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Abud Dhabi on March 18.

Photo by Government of Dubai/Media Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the United Arab Emirates Friday, his first trip to an Arab country since the start of the civil war in 2011. 

Assad met with the de facto ruler of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, in a sign that Gulf leaders who initially supported a rebellion against him are ready to welcome Damascus back into the Arab fold.