Anton Mardasov, an expert at the Russian Council on International Affairs, expressed Russia’s annoyance at the “impunity of the Syrian regime” and the lack of control over its foreign relations after the outbreak of the Ukraine war.
“What bothers Moscow most is that the Syrian regime has become less restricted in its actions, and it has become very difficult to control its foreign relations,” said Mardasov, in an article published in the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
“We don’t know how Assad’s security was guaranteed during his trip to the UAE. This issue has usually been the preserve of Moscow.”
Bashar al-Assad made a short visit to the United Arab Emirates on February 18th, during which he met with Dubai’s ruler Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
According to French website Intelligence Online, it was UAE’s national security adviser, Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who engineered Assad’s visit via a private Boeing 737 VIP aircraft. The plane belonged to the luxury airline Royal Jet.
The regime’s president’s visit is the first to another Arab country since 2011; in the intervening years, only Russia and Iran have visited Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.