The French site "Orient 21" published information about Abu Dhabi's support for the Syrian regime, stressing that the rapprochement between the two sides goes beyond mere normalization of diplomatic relations.

He said in a detailed report that the information he obtained from an investigation conducted by the French non-governmental "Justice and Freedom for All" committee revealed the existence of reconstruction aid and military and security partnerships.

According to the report, immediately after the reopening of its embassy in Damascus in late 2018, it provided medical and food assistance to hospitals in areas controlled by the Syrian regime.

The UAE also financed the reconstruction of public buildings, power plants and water networks in the Syrian capital.

Consulting and training

The sources on which the report was based confirm that the UAE is providing military support to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

It says that eight Emirati officers traveled to provide advice to the leadership of the Syrian regime, and that five Syrian pilots enrolled - on a date that the sources did not specify - at the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in Al Ain, west of Abu Dhabi, to improve their skills.

The report also revealed that Abu Dhabi provides technical and scientific training to senior officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence.

The training - which started on January 15th - takes between two and 12 months, depending on its content, and is supervised by various institutions spread across the Emirates.

Thus, 31 non-commissioned officers and eight civil computer engineers were trained in information and communication systems and digital security.

According to the report, four Syrian intelligence officers are supervised by the trainees, including Colonel Zulfikar Wassouf, who is responsible for training within the Military Intelligence, as well as Lt. Col. Jihad Barakat, the son-in-law of Assad's cousin.

Acting against Turkey

On March 27, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed announced - via Twitter - that he had a telephone conversation with the Syrian President, the first since he cut diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2012.

Two weeks later, Britain's Middle East Eye website said that bin Zayed proposed to support Assad with $ 3 billion in return for a return to fighting in Syria's Idlib governorate, on the border with Turkey.

American warnings to Abu Dhabi

The "Orient 21" website referred to the pressure exerted by the United States on Abu Dhabi to discourage it from normalizing relations with the Syrian regime, but he said that these pressures seem to have little impact on Abu Dhabi so far.

However, the report noted that the UAE has not yet appointed an ambassador in Damascus, content with the presence of the Chargé d'Affaires "undoubtedly (is) to avoid angering the American ally."

The American “Caesar” law came into effect on the 17th of this month, and Washington launched a campaign of sanctions against the Syrian regime and its supporters and dealers.

Simultaneously, the US special envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, warned the UAE that it could fall under the risk of sanctions if it continued its efforts to normalize relations with the Assad regime.