The United Arab Emirates has granted the Damascus government a $2 billion aid package to support the war-torn country’s supplies of fuel and food, the Eqtsad outlet reported on February 23 citing Syrian and Emirati sources.
According to the report, Syrian and Emirati businessmen discussed the best ways to facilitated the UAE’s aid and evade U.S. sanctions during a meeting last month. The Syrian businessmen visited Abu Dhabi upon an official invitation from the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“The UAE and the businessmen agreed to fund several shell companies in Jabal Ali in Dubai to support the regime through it, in return for some demands by the UAE, including restraining Iran’s ambition in the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa [occupied by Iran, according to the UAE], the Syrian regime will guarantee that Iran will not make any problems in these islands,” Eqtsad quoted one of the sources as saying.
Besides restraining Iran’s ambitions in the Persian Gulf, the UAE also asked Damascus to step up its efforts against the Turkish influence, especially in the economic sector.
The UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus last December after years of supporting the Syrian opposition. The step was one of many that Abu Dhabi took last year to restart its relations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Eqtsad’s claims have not been confirmed by the UAE or the Damascus government so far. However, it’s possible to observe an improvement in the relations between Iran and the UAE. In a recent interview with Tasnim News, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, revealed that Tehran has received some positive letters from Abu Dhabi.
Furthermore, the Syrian authorities have indeed launched a massive campaign against Turkish goods throughout government-controlled areas. Eqtsad claims that this campaign is supported by the UAE, which is apparently planning to replace Turkey’s stacks in the Syrian market.
Good relations between Abu Dhabi and Damascus could become an important factor allowing to pave a way to improve the regional security.
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