Syrians Never Lose Hope

Visiting the Damascus International Fair, one can feel the joy of the Syrians while celebrating the return of a beloved economic, cultural and social event they have missed so much since the terrorist war on their country began. One can notice the thirst of the Syrians for the peaceful old days when the fair was a kind of festival for the people to enjoy pleasant time, for the state's establishments and companies to introduce their activities and products and for businessmen to find useful and effective partnerships.

 The huge turnout for Damascus International Fair over the past seven days affirmed the Syrians' confidence in the ability of their state and army to restore security nationwide and rid the homeland of terrorism.

 There was consensus that re-launching the fair has been a declaration of Syria's imminent victory over terrorism and of the Syrian economy's recovery. The return of the fair stressed the Syrian people's ability to challenge difficult circumstances and start a new life after shaking off the dust of war without forgetting that such festivity couldn't be possible without the sacrifices of their hero army which will continue its fight to eliminate the last takfir terrorist in Syria.

Eyes are all on Syria

"All eyes are now watching Syria rising from the war and re-launching the Fair is a message to the world that Syria is still alive and the Syrians never lose hope," Tourism Minister Bisher Yazigi told the "Syriatimes" e-newspaper while touring the Syrian pavilion.

He said fairs, exhibitions and festivals never stopped in Syria during the past five years, but Damascus International Fair now is a turning point and this adds more responsibilities on the government to have flexible plans that cope with developments.

"The rate of hotel occupancy is 100% in Damascus which is a sign that business and conference tourism will be important in the coming era as Syria needs investments," he said, pointing out that this fair will be followed by specialized exhibitions that meets Syria's needs and that all ministries are sparing no effort to upgrade their performance to be up to the level of the sacrifices offered by the martyrs of the Syrian Arab army to restore stability in the country.

" As a tourism ministry, our focus in the past era was on showing Syria's real bright image and on reflecting the pulse of live in the street and the continuity of the wheel of production in order to cancel the dark image circulated in the west about Syria being destroyed with no life in," Yazigi added.

"Over the past years, people who loved Syria, be they Syrian expatriates or Syria lovers from other countries, continued to come to the country despite the war," the minister said, stressing that Syria is in front of the biggest reconstruction process in which companies from different parts of the world seek taking part and this will open new horizons for tourism.

"Though the war has not come to an end yet, the Syrians say that the war has ended and behave on this basis. They won't wait the war to end, rather they are trying to contribute to ending the war through holding such fairs and activities," stressed Yazigi.

Fossil of plesiosaur

Touring the Syrian pavilion we entered the stand of the Ministry of oil, and there in the part of the General Establishment for Geology products from the mineral resources and samples from the high quality Syrian marble were exhibited.  A further catching element was also displayed there. It was a recently discovered fossil of a plesiosaur, an extinct giant marine reptile with 58 vertebra and six meters in length.

The fossil, which is 85 million years old, lived in an era when Syria was covered with the sea, according to Dr. Mohammad Khaled Yazbek, a geological expert at the establishment.

"It is the first scientific discovery of its kind in Syria's geological history," he said, noting that the fossil was discovered in Palmyra by purely national team of experts during their geological activities. He pointed out that more research and excavation works will be conducted in wider areas with support from the government as the situation in Syria is getting better thanks to the achievements of the army in the war on terror.

Belarusian companies seek partnerships to rebuild Syria

At the Belarusian stand of the international pavilion in the Fair, we met Natalya Leichenko from the Sales and Marketing Management of the Open Joint Stock Company "Olsa" to highlight the Belarusian official participation.

"It is the first time for our company to visit Syria and take part in such an important exhibition. We get information from our government that the situation in Syria is fine after six years of war, so we wanted to take part in this international fair being a great experience for us and for our company which produces important products like medical furniture  which are important for Syria especially because we all know that there are a lot of hospitals and different medical buildings that were destroyed in the war", the Belarusian lady said.

"The Belarusian government and companies would like to offer help to rebuild and equip the damaged hospitals and health centers in Syria, she added, pointing out that several companies are taking part in the fair to find business connections with Syria and to have an opportunity to establish partnerships and offer our products to the Syrian markets.

"We don't see war, we see friendly people who helped us with what we need and always visit us with a smile on their faces and with good emotions.  It is very exciting to have a good time here meet new friends and see Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city.

Indonesia: war couldn't  prevent people from coming to the fair

From Indonesia, Malek Abdul Rahim, representative of the Indonesian embassy in Syria, said the fair was very good and an important opportunity for Indonesian factories and companies to show their products here and find someone who want to be their partner in business.

"I Have been here for two years, the war couldn't prevent the people from coming here to have some fun and see foreigners from different countries coming and meeting in Syria in such a big event," Abdul Rahim said, hoping that Syria will be getting better.

He added that "first, the Indonesian people get a lot of fake news from Main Stream Media (MSM) about Syria, but our embassy here talked to the press in Indonesia and explained the real situation in Syria and Damascus. It was a shock, because there was a big difference between the MSM news and what the fact is, that fact that we are seeing with our own eyes. We live here and we feel safe and hopefully Syria will get better," he added.

Diamond Sponsor

"AMAN Holding", the Diamond Sponsor of the Damascus International Fair occupied three stands in the fair to introduce the company's strategic goals, history and plans.

Talking to ST about AMAN's participation, the Administrative Director of the company Samer Ismael said the 59th Damascus International Fair was re-launched after a five-year stop to restore Syria's brightness and to say that the Syrian people and businessmen have the ability to give more and take part in such an important economic activity that serves the homeland.

"As a private sector, we consider our country, Syria, as the best investment environment for us because here exist our potentials, resources, ambitions, youths and future," Ismael added, pointing out that Syria is able to rise again and its youths and investors are eager to rebuild the country.

"The fair is a place where national, regional and international experts meet to discuss cooperation in the coming reconstruction era in Syria and we are here to meet our counterparts from other companies and to establish partnership," Ismael added

AMAN was established in 1988 from a core company called "Foz for Trading" which started with importing and exporting basic goods and now it has become a giant company with different branches and with different activities covering the fields of trading, Importation, contracting and transportation, Ismael said, expressing hope that each branch company will have a special stand in the coming fairs and hailing the unprecedented turnout for the fair.

India: Syria is a promising investment market

India, with an unofficial participation, was represented in the Fair by the "Tamari Group for Trading and Construction, which is the exclusive agent of five Indian private companies working in Syria and participating in the fair. These companies are specialized in equipping factories, in construction as well as in medicines and textile industries and they are now trying to build partnerships with Syrian public and private sectors as to rebuild Syria.

According to Representative of Tamari Group, Syria is a promising investment market nowadays and it needs reconstruction, so there will be strong competition between Indian companies to work in Syria and take part in this process.

Reported by: Hamda Mustafa

Photos: Mahfouz Abu Hadier