Syria: reject 'normalization' of Assad regime

Syrian dictator Bashar Assad arrived in the United Arab Emirates for an official visit March 19—another advance in the attempt to normalize his genocidal regime. The trip was accompanied by more ceremony than Assad's visit to the UAE last year, his first journey to an Arab state since the Syrian revolution began in March 2011. The UAE trip comes after a visit to Oman last month. Days before the UAE visit, Assad was in Moscow for a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. In addition to voicing support for Putin's war in Ukraine, Assad told Russian state media that he welcomes any expansion of Moscow's military bases in Syria. (EA Worldview, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, EuroNews)

Meanwhile, on March 15 opposition activists held a demonstration in Idlib city, within Syria's diminished pocket of rebel control, marking the 12th anniversary of the revolution. Thousands gathered under the Free Syria flag in the city's center, to proclaim that the revolution survives and to oppose normalization of the regime. (Syria Direct)