Damascus (ANN)-The UAE representative in Damascus, Abdul-Hakim Al-Naimi, hailed the “wise leadership” of Syrian regime leader Bashar Al-Assad and stressed that his country maintains “strong” relations with Syria.

He hoped that “safety and security prevails across Syria” under the “wise leadership” of Al-Assad.

Al-Naimi delivered his remarks during a celebration organised in Damascus to mark the 48th National Day of the UAE, Syrian news agency Sana reported.

The UAE has been working to regain ties with Al-Assad despite the numerous accusations of atrocities and abuses levelled at his regime by human rights groups.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the UAE has funded mercenaries from the Caucasus and other countries in order to fight alongside the Syrian regime forces during the eight-year civil war.

READ: Why the Assad regime will continue to destabilise Syria

The UAE also hosts many Syrian regime officials and pro-Assad businessmen, as well as Al-Assad’s mother Anisa Makhlouf.

Media reports said, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that the Emirates had led mediation efforts to re-establish ties between the Syrian regime and Saudi Arabia.

In December last year, the UAE announced that it would be reopening its embassy in Damascus marking a significant diplomatic boost for Al-Assad. A foreign ministry statement said the move aimed to normalise ties and to curb risks of regional interference in “Arab, Syrian affairs” – an apparent reference to non-Arab Iran, whose support for Al-Assad has been critical to his war effort.