After four and a half years of the Syrian Civil War which is rapidly escalating with multiple actors, Bashar al-Assad has found a stronger ally in Vladimir Putin. Beginning on 30 September 2015, Russian planes began bombing al-Assad's opponents. And while initially, Putin claimed the purpose of these attacks were to fight ISIS, the Russian President has since admitted his priority of strengthening al-Assad.
Surprise ... the Syrian President met with his Russian counterpart earlier today in Moscow. In the above moment, al-Assad and Putin are shown shaking hands. From a body language perspective, this photo tells us several important things.
Bashar al-Assad's "smile" is a false one (AKA a pseudo-smile, fake smile or social smile) and more importantly, in this particular flavor contains a significant component of disgust.
In addition, Putin's body is turned 90 degrees away from where it should be. Vladimir is facing the camera when he should be looking at al-Assad. In order to build rapport - and show respect, your feet, hips, torso, head and eyes must be pointed at the person whose hand you're shaking. Vladimir's behavior here is highly unusual - even for a head-of-state, posed greeting.
In summary, President Putin's body language is tremendously disrespectful toward the Bashar al-Assad and very much validates the assertion of many - that Putin is using the Syrian President and conflict in order to re-assert himself on the World stage and hold onto Russia's only strong ally in the Middle East.
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