President Bashar al-Assad says his administration is capable of overcoming the US-led blockade, reducing the impact of Western sanctions and creating more investment opportunities across the country.
The president made the remarks after visiting a number of factories and facilities at Adra industrial city in the Damascus countryside.
“Syria has genuine potentials to overcome the blockade and lessen its impacts and create more investment opportunities,” Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying.
During the visit, the Syrian president inspected the complex and discussed the means of boosting production and overcoming obstacles facing a number of industries.
“I am very happy with my visit today to Adra industrial city and meeting with a number of Syrian industrialists… this city which has been on the front line between the army and terrorists since many years…but it has withstood… my visit today aims to stress the priority of economy in the upcoming stage,” Assad added.
The president stressed that the country needed investment, strong will and the patriotic sense for reconstruction.
“These three basic factors give momentum to many investors to establish industries in different areas, investments or productive facilities in other areas in Syria.”
The president also hailed the spirit, innovation and passion of workers and managers at the industrial complex.
“This patriotic spirit that I have already touched at supervisors of the work and workers gives several messages in Syria.” he said.
“What I have seen today can’t be described except as excellent, taking into consideration the circumstances to which this region has lived during the years of war and the conditions to which the Syrian economy passes through.”
More than a third of Syria’s infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged due to the militancy over the past years. This includes significant damage to more than a third of the housing stock and half of health and education facilities.
The European Union and the US along with their Middle Eastern allies are viewed as the main sponsors of the militant groups and notorious terrorist outfits operating, since early 2011, to overthrow the government in Damascus.
Simultaneously with the militancy they have been fueling in Syria, the EU and US have imposed a host of unilateral economic sanctions on the Arab nation over the past decade in what appears to be an attempt to deny the Damascus government of its financial resources and hamper its fight against the terror groups they have been supporting.
Damascus has also been critical of the United Nations for keeping silent for the destructive role of the US and EU, among other parties supporting terrorism in Syria.
Reconstruction is a key to restoring stability to the country, because without it the Syrians’ living conditions could deteriorate and perpetuate instability.
One key challenge for the Syrian government, however, is to secure reconstruction funds. The Syrian government says it will cost around $400 billion to rebuild the country.
European governments have declared that they will not bankroll reconstruction in Syria under the current administration. US and EU sanctions on Syria, meanwhile, prevent Western companies from investing in the Arab country’s recovery.
Hence, the Syrian government looks to friendly states such as Iran, Russia and China and its citizens living abroad to fund reconstruction.
Al-Assad has made it clear that the West “won’t be part of reconstruction in Syria, because very simply we won’t allow them to be part of it, whether they come with money or not.”
Syrian Minister of Public Works and Housing Suhail Mohammad Abdul Latif said during a visit to Tehran in November 2019 that the priority for Damascus was to consign Syria’s rebuilding to friendly countries, foremost Iran.
Throughout the war, Iran has provided critical credit lines to keep the Syrian economy afloat and helped regain control of vast swathes of the country.
In 2013, Iran provided Syria with a $1 billion credit line as Damascus came under sanctions by the US and the EU amid a sharp decline in oil-related revenues and the loss of funds from taxes and enterprises in places where terrorists ruled supreme.
A second loan worth $3.6 billion came within eight months of the first for the purchase of oil products, with another $1 billion in credit line provided in 2015 to offset the sharp drop in the value of the Syrian pound.
In addition to providing loans, Iran has participated in Syria’s infrastructure projects, food production, and health services.
In January 2019, the two strategic allies signed 11 agreements, including a “long-term strategic economic cooperation” deal, which included industry, trade and agriculture.
Iran has also signed an agreement to help rebuild Syria’s electricity grid which has suffered damages of 50 percent.