Syria signs export deals with Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Russian firms

Syria signs export deals with Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Russian firms
2 min read
12 September, 2018
Western governments say they are unwilling to invest in or trade with Assad's regime without a plan for political transition in Damascus.
The regime sought out trade and investment partners at its annual Damascus international Fair [AFP]
Syria's Exporter's Union signed on Monday agreements with Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Russian companies to export agricultural products to their markets, state media reported.

The regime sought out trade and investment partners at its annual Damascus international Fair earlier this month, in attempt to rebuild the country's shattered economy.

Western governments say they are unwilling to invest in or trade with the regime without a plan for political transition in Damascus.

They have also levied a raft of sanctions against politically-linked figures and companies, on charges of supporting state-sponsored terrorism and facilitating war crimes.

Beyond death tolls and destroyed infrastructure, a UN agency said the seven-year old civil war has cost the country $388 billion in economic damages.

More than half of Syria's pre-war population has fled the country or been displaced internally over the past seven years.

Russia's 2015 military intervention helped a recovery by regime forces, which have regained significant ground in recent months.

Jihadist and rebel forces remain in some pockets, but with the military balance in the regime's favour, regime efforts have already been shifting toward reconstruction.

The UN is expected to release a full report on the impact of the war in September.

The Syrian civil war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent assessments, brutal tactics pursued mainly by the Russian-backed regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians, amount to war crimes.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed, while 6.3 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country. A further 6.2 million are internally displaced.

Agencies contributed to this report.