Syria, UAE leaders discuss closer relations in rare call

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s state media says the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince has received a rare telephone call from Syrian President Bashar Assad in which they discussed strengthening relations. The call between Assad and UAE’s crown prince came as some Arab countries are improving relations with Syria, a decade after the country’s civil war began. The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in late 2018 but relations remained cold since then. The UAE was a supporter of the Syrian opposition, which is now largely confined to a small corner in northwest Syria after Assad’s forces gained control of much of Syria in recent years.