FIRST AIRED: December 27, 2018

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00:00:00
>> It's a major diplomatic boost for Bashar al-Assad, the United Arab Emirates, a former foe, reopening its embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus Thursday with other Arab countries planning to do the same, a sign of recognition that after nearly eight years of civil war, Syria's president remains in power with an iron grip on most of the country.
00:00:22
The AUE, a US ally, was once among Arab countries that funded rebels fighting against Assad. Its embassy closed in the early months of the war that erupted in 2011. One reason for the change of heart, the UAE said, was to quote curb regional interference, an apparent reference to its arch rival, Iran.
00:00:42
But it's also recognition that Assad has recovered the bulk of Syria over the past couple of years with critical military support from Russia, Iran and Shiite armed groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah. And he received another possible boost last week->> Our presence in Syria was not->> When Donald Trump decided to pull US forces out of Northern and Eastern Syria where they support Kurdish-led militia.
00:01:05
Reentry to the Arab League could also be on the cards. An Arab diplomat told Reuters last week he thought most countries wanted Syria to return to the fold, but there's been no official proposal as yet.