The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus, Syria, on Thursday, marking the first official acknowledgment by regional adversaries of Syrian President Bashar Assad that he has won the almost eight-year civil war to dislodge him.
The reopening represents a significant victory for Assad, who had fought for years against rebel factions receiving weapons and material support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and, to a lesser degree, the UAE.
All three countries were also involved in CIA-led logistics hubs that trained and equipped opposition fighters. However, U.S. support for the rebels appears to be largely over in the wake of President Trump’s announcement last week that he is pulling out all U.S. troops from Syria. Although U.S. troops were there to fight Islamic State, not Syria, their departure will presumably strengthen Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies.