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Syrian reconstruction expo draws Russian businesses

Russian companies continue to explore investments in Syria's reconstruction, which could be a boon to them given the Western sanctions against Russia.

Despite warnings by the United States to allies and others not to attend Rebuild Syria 2019, an industry, agriculture and infrastructure exposition held Sept. 17-21 at the Damascus Fair Grounds, some 390 businesses from 31 countries chose to participate. The occasion marked the fifth consecutive year for the expo, organized with an eye toward the future reconstruction of Syria.

Washington has in the past issued general warnings that countries hold the line on sanctions against Iran and avoid all business fairs in Syria, asserting that they are basically “Iranian events” due to Tehran’s sponsorship or prominent presence at them. Indeed, Iran's ambassador to Syria, Jawad Turk Abadi, participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony this year, and 84 Iranian companies, more than one-fifth of the total, were in attendance. Russia also made its presence known with a stylish, 1,116-square-foot pavilion hosting 10 midsize private sector companies from seven regions. A few Chinese companies attended, and they had no pavilion.

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