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Syria’s Assad, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince spoke on phone: state media

President Bashar al-Assad and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan spoke by phone Friday, state media reported, in the first such call since Syria’s war began in 2011.

Citing Syria’s presidency, state news agency SANA reported “a phone conversation between President Assad and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi… based on the consequences of the spread of coronavirus”.

The crown prince assured Assad of the “UAE’s support for the Syrian people during these exceptional circumstances”, SANA said.

Abu Dhabi’s official news agency also reported the two men had held a conversation.

“I have discussed with the Syrian president… updates on the coronavirus. I assured him of the support of the UAE and its willingness to help the Syrian people,” Prince Mohammed said on Twitter.

“Humanitarian solidarity during trying times supersedes all matters, and Syria and her people will not stand alone,” he added.

The UAE re-opened its embassy in Damascus in 2018, seven years after severing diplomatic ties.

Five cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Syria since Sunday.

Humanitarian organisations have warned of catastrophe if the virus spreads in the war-torn nation.