The United Arab Emirates’ reception of Bashar al-Assad triggered an international outcry in view of the war crimes he has been committing against the Syrian people over the years of the revolution.
A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said that “it is the UK’s firm belief that – in the absence of a change in behavior by the Syrian regime – strengthening ties undermines the prospect of a lasting and inclusive peace in Syria.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, said: “There’s been a form of barbarous, sustained murder going on in Syria, run jointly by Assad, and now Putin is doing exactly the same in a barbaric war of aggression against innocent sovereign Ukraine.”
These comments came after a statement by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck who said after arriving in the UAE on Monday: “The Syrian conflict is…complicated. Assad in my opinion is a criminal and the diplomatic talks which Arab countries are holding are also complicated.”
The U.S. State Department said it was “profoundly disappointed and troubled” by Assad’s official visit to the UAE, stressing that the trip was an “apparent attempt to legitimize” Assad.
“We urge states considering engagement with the Assad regime to weigh carefully the horrific atrocities visited by the regime on the Syrians over the last decade, as well as the regime’s continuing efforts to deny much of the country access to humanitarian aid and security,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, according to Reuters.
Assad, he said, “remains responsible and accountable for the death and suffering of countless Syrians, the displacement of more than half of the pre-war Syrian population, and the arbitrary detention and disappearance of over 150,000 Syrian men, women and children.”
The Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) earlier said that receiving Assad is nothing but a reward for his crimes, a breach of the Arab League and international sanctions, and utter disregard for the blood of the Syrian people.
The SOC stressed that the timing of the visit, on the eleventh anniversary of the start of Syrian revolution, is an insult to the will of the Syrian people and the enormous sacrifices they are making in their struggle against a dictatorial regime whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent civilians. It urged the UAE to re-assume its original positions in support of the Syrian people.
Assad’s visit to the UAE, his first to an Arab country since the start of the Syrian Revolution in 2011, is an unacceptable move to legitimize the Assad regime after it killed, displaced and detained millions of Syrians.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department + Agencies)