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Coronavirus: Syria's Assad receives call of support from Abu Dhabi's MBZ

Mohammed bin Zayed tells Bashar al-Assad that Syrian people 'will not stand alone' during pandemic
Earlier this week, the Syrian government reported its first case of coronavirus (Reuters)

Syria received a show of support from the United Arab Emirates on Friday, with Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince vowing to "stand" by Damascus during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I discussed with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad updates on Covid-19," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ) said on Twitter.

"I assured him of the support of the UAE and its willingness to help the Syrian people. Humanitarian solidarity during trying times supersedes all matters, and Syria and her people will not stand alone."

MBZ's comments come just over a year after the UAE restored diplomatic relations with Syria

The decision prompted Bahrain to announce it too would restore its diplomatic mission, while the Arab League said it was studying the possibility of restoring Syria's membership.

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The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011 as the death toll mounted in its civil war. However, several Arab states are seeking to restore ties with Assad after his forces made decisive gains in the conflict.

Backed by Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, Assad's forces control more than 70 percent of Syria and the president has repeatedly vowed to retake the entire country.

Earlier this week, the Syrian government reported its first case of the virus, though there have been unconfirmed reports of multiple cases across the country.

Middle East Eye reported earlier this month that Pakistan claimed that some of its reported cases involved individuals returning from Syria.

Syria's health-care system, housing and infrastructure have been ravaged by nine years of civil war, but Damascus has denied any outbreak or cover-up.

United Nations officials and humanitarian workers fear a major outbreak could be particularly catastrophic for millions of Syrian refugees who live in over-crowded camps near the Turkish border.

Damascus has announced a few measures aimed at combatting the spread of the virus, including a ban on public transport as well as the closure of schools, parks, restaurants and various public institutions.

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