Syria. Monthly review (March 2019)

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Restoration of peaceful life, social institutions, the economy and infrastructure.


March 2. In the Syrian village of El-Biya, the restoration of an Orthodox church is being completed.

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The main work on the restoration of the temple of Elijah the prophet here has already been completed. On the outskirts of the territory still heard the sound of hammers. Workers laid tile, but this is the final touch in the picture of the transformation of the entire complex. The work at the temple does not stop, even when outside the gate, the Russian military from the Center for Reconciliation begins to distribute more than two tons of food. The Russian military brought humanitarian aid here at the request of representatives of the Antioch Orthodox Church. Source (video).

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Basketball section for athletes with disabilities opened in Aleppo. In ordinary life, these are engineers, students, officials, and merchants. Someone got a disability in childhood, someone was injured in battles with terrorists, but they are united by their endless passion for sports. Now the club is rapidly gaining momentum and has already become the champion of Syria. Source (video).

March 3. As part of the government’s plan for the reconstruction of the liberated areas, the city council of Deir-ez-Zor moved to the second stage of work.

It began after the final removal of rubble and debris from certain areas. In addition, the city replaced part of the sewer systems, which were significantly damaged. Some of the workshops were moved from Jubaila to the area of the central market Halal, which not so long ago was completely restored. First of all, shops opened there. This is an important step in the revival of the neighborhood, which is necessary for the authorities to encourage people to return to their hometown, to sell and buy food, vegetables and fruits.

In parallel with the process of reviving Deir-ez-Zor, the city council will carry out the removal of debris from the rest of the neighborhood, as well as gradually carry out the process of replacing sewer networks as part of the program to restore Deir-ez-Zor and return its residents to their homes. Source.

March 4. Special units of the military from Armenia arrived in the Syrian province of Aleppo for demining.

Contrary to US protests, Yerevan sent almost a hundred soldiers and officers who would have to perform important and very dangerous missions. The sappers flew from Yerevan light, having received the equipment already in place. Their safety during the work is provided by the Russian military police. Sappers from Armenia came to help their Syrian colleagues. Damascus concluded an official agreement on this with Yerevan in mid-February. A few days later, a detachment of 83 people began work in the province of Aleppo.

Sending humanitarian demining specialists to conflict zones has always been considered a good form in international politics. But for some reason, this gesture of Armenia was very painfully perceived in Washington. In response to the harsh statements of the State Department, Yerevan recalled that a huge Armenian community lives in Syria. And to help these people, an agreement with the Syrian authorities is enough for Armenia. Source.

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The authorities of Jordan lifted the ban on flights of the kingdom’ airlines in the airspace of Syria. A Jordanian delegation visited Syria in January to assess the safety of the airspace. As is known, Jordanian airlines began to make flights bypassing Syria in 2013. Based on this assessment, the Jordanian Civil Aviation Authority decided to allow Jordanian airlines to use Syrian airspace to transit their flights. Source.

March 6. Near Damascus in the settlements of Hirgila and Duweir, new temporary accommodation centers for refugees have been opened.

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The new centers meet all modern requirements and have a developed infrastructure. Centers are ready for the return of refugees from the Rukban camp. Apartment with all amenities will be provided to each family. Two-storey houses with separate bathrooms are strikingly different from the unsanitary conditions of the Er-Rukban camp, which has turned into a real reservation. Refugees there are still forcibly held by US-controlled gangs. Source (video).

The European delegation, consisting of a group of politicians, public figures and journalists from Italy, Moldova, France and Russia, arrived in the Syrian capital Damascus in support of the people of SAR, who, they said, became a symbol of struggle. The European delegation that arrived in the SAR is working on behalf of the World Organization for Human Rights, which was founded on January 20 of this year in Paris. Members of the delegation expressed their support and solidarity with the Syrian government, noting the struggle of the Syrian people in the face of terrorism and all forms of external interference, as well as the preservation of their homeland and sovereignty. European thinkers opposed the erroneous policies of the West in Damascus. Source.

March 7. In the coming days in Palmyra will begin shooting of the first Russian-Syrian film.

The Russian side, like the Syrian one, has a lofty goal — to tell about the war and terrorism that has spread in the republic. About how it affected the lives of people. It is expected that the shooting of the film will begin later this year. Filming will be carried out both in St. Petersburg and in Syria. The premiere of the first Russian-Syrian film will be held at the end of 2019. The total budget of the film — two million euros. The Syrian side will make a quarter of the amount. The film tells about the destruction that took place in the historical city of Palmyra after it was captured by the militants of the «Islamic State» terrorist organization banned in Russia. Source.

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The Russian musical ensemble of folk music and dance «Fair» performed on the main stage of the Damascus Opera Theater on the eve of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Russia and Syria. Artists of the ensemble performed for the Syrians the best works of Russian folk culture, thus supporting the Syrian people. Source.

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Representatives of the Syrian moderate opposition expect that the constitutional committee will begin its work until the end of spring. A similar opinion was expressed by the deputy chairman of the international committee of the Syrian parliament. All questions on the creation of the body reached the final stage, it is necessary to approve the last six names in the list from civil society. Immediately after this, the chairman of the association will be elected  It will be one of the members of the civil list, the one who will be equally neutral with respect to the government of Bashar al-Assad and with respect to the opposition.

A total of 150 delegates are represented in the constitutional committee: 50 from the government side, 50 from the opposition, and the last third are neutral representatives approved by both Damascus and moderate opposition members. It is neutral voices that will influence the adoption of the one or the other decision.

Now negotiations between the government and the opposition are being dragged out largely due to the pressure of the Americans. It is not profitable for them to start a peaceful political process in the SAR, which will mean the victory of the “Astana format”. Source.

March 8. A project to combat the spread of drugs has been launched in Damascus.

To combat drug trafficking and raise awareness of the dangers of drugs and how to avoid them and treat drug addicts correctly, rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society, a charity project was launched in Damascus in collaboration with the National Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Department of Drugs Ministry of Health. Source.

After seven years of forced pause, the first start of the train, loaded with grain from the port of Lattakia through Homs to Nasiriyah station and grain stores, took place. This event marked a new achievement of the railway sector, which began to recover after the war. The first train ride took place after the railways were repaired from damage. Repair teams worked day and night, despite the harsh weather conditions and vandalism on many railways. Source.

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Small businesses are actively returning to the domestic market throughout Syria. In East Aleppo, one of the sewing shops opened immediately after the liberation of the area from militants. Mainly, refugees returning to the eastern part of the city, as well as widows of Syrian soldiers, are employed. It is noted that the average salary of a worker is $ 40 per week.

About 500 sets of children’s clothes are being produced weekly at the factory for sewing clothes, some of which are sent to charitable foundations. It is noted that after the withdrawal of the militants from the eastern region of Aleppo, small business began to actively develop there, small enterprises are constantly opening. Peaceful life is gradually returning to eastern Aleppo. Source.

The Syrian government received a consignment of cargo from the Chinese government aimed at helping the Syrian people. It includes 4,152 tons of rice. The Syrian government has done everything possible to deliver the shipment to the Syrian Red Crescent organization in coordination with the top level Assistance Committee, which developed a distribution plan for this grant in the Syrian provinces in collaboration with the authorities of these regions. Cargo will be shipped in batches from the port of Lattakia, and the quantity of each shipment for a particular region will vary from 1000 to 1200 tons. Source.

March 11. The authorities of the Syrian province of Deir-ez-Zor resumed production of bread in the city.

The bakery factory in the city of Meyadin began its work again after the damage caused by terrorist groups was repaired and the necessary elements were restored, which were illegally exported by the militants. The production lines were commissioned to meet the needs of the residents of Deir-ez-Zor and the surrounding villages. The production capacity of each line is about 10 tons per day, and the cost of repairs in the bakery cost the local authorities 20 million Syrian pounds. Source.

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The largest grain processing complex in Syria has resumed its work. Since the Syrian army knocked out the last terrorists from here, the company has been developing rapidly. Now the factory is preparing to open new workshops and there’s a need of workers. The leadership plans to accept refugees from the Rukban camp. The camp is located about a hundred km from the plant.

This grain processing complex was built with the help of Iranian specialists. The Iranian and Syrian engineers are working there now. Daily throughput of the complex — 300 thousand tons of grain. Source (video).

The Damascus city administration received 50 modern transport buses with a capacity of 35 seats, five of which are intended for war-affected and disabled people. All buses will be transferred to various Syrian provinces and put into operation. The head of the Syrian Ministry of Transport, Ahmed Khosra said that this is the second batch of buses. In total, there will be 200 of them. All vehicles should be delivered in the near future, 10 percent of them will be designed to meet the needs of the wounded and disabled. Khosra confirmed that all buses are in excellent condition, they were produced in China in 2018. New buses contribute to the development of the transport system in the cities and to the restoration of the deficit of this sector, which has arisen due to terrorism. Source.

March 12. The restoration of the famous underground market of Al-Madina began in Aleppo.

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This is a unique architectural structure, which is recognized the UNESCO heritage. Now 50 specialists are working to restore the market, known since the XIV century. The length of the trading rows of the market is 13 kilometers. During the war, militants used these streets as a shelter to quickly move inside the neighborhoods. Source (video).

Places in the Al-Madina market cost a lot of money, but they are rarely sold. Stalls are passed down from generation to generation. The ancient Oriental bazaar is historically divided into parts. Suk As-Sabun — the market of soap. Suk al-Hiraj — they sell firewood and coal. Suk Al-Atik — here they trade in leather. And, of course, artisan workshops. While the restoration is underway, they are forced to work in the surrounding streets. Source.

The Syrian government is taking all possible effective measures for the full and gradual restoration of the air transport sector in general and the Syrian Arab Airlines in particular. The authorities have already taken a number of steps to maintain a high rate of work that would help the sector recover as a national carrier after long years of war and siege by terrorists. The recovery process is complicated due to the unilateral sanctions imposed by Western states on Syria. Source.

The Al-Ibda Center for Training and Socio-Psychological Education in As-Swaida offers a free course for students and graduates from the vicinity of the Syrian province. These courses are aimed primarily at those who have suffered physically or psychologically from terrorism. In this way, specialists are trying to help people smooth traumatic memories and overcome fears. Source.

March 13. The monastery of the Blessed Virgin in Damascus for the first time after the war opened a call of pupils.

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The girls here will be taught the law of God and the secular sciences. Studying in this temple has always been considered prestigious in the entire Middle East. The nuns received novices from Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, regardless of their position in society. Orphaned girls and nobles could study in one class. Source (video).

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Belarus has delivered humanitarian aid with a total weight of over 50 tons to Syria. According to a published resolution of the Belarusian government, Minsk intended to provide humanitarian aid to the SAR for a total amount of about 460 thousand dollars.

In particular, Belarus hoped to transfer to Damascus two dump trucks and a MAZ bus, simulators, clothes, shoes, furniture, medicines, whole milk powder and school supplies. Minsk provides humanitarian aid to the SAR for the fourth time. Source.

March 15. A group of Syrian women organized a charity event in Damascus to raise women’s self-confidence in the face of everyday problems.

In addition, the organizers of the event set a goal to encourage women to play sports and also to find a new hobby. The march of women started at the Russian Tower in the Bab-Touma district of Damascus, then moved to Abbasid al-Adawi Square.

The event was also attended by a group of young girls who were encouraged to start cycling, as well as to challenge society and change their stereotype about women among Syrian men. This event is held in Damascus for the fourth time in a row.

For many decades, Syrian women have been proving their influence and ability to make positive changes in modern society and in various fields, including science, culture, and art. They also learn to make decisions based on the Constitution and laws that guarantee their rights and provide social support. Source.

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Syrian cultural life is experiencing a revival: theaters in major cities work according to the staffing table, orchestras and the National Opera have been restored. Some cultural sites did not stop work during the war, when terrorists were very close to Damascus. Theaters and musical groups in Damascus continued to work even in the most difficult days of the civil war, most of the artists who left the SAR in recent years, return and immediately begin to work. Source1 / Source2.

March 16. Volunteers from the «Friends of Aleppo» public organization have begun to restore lighting on the embankment in the center of the Syrian city.

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Their first major project is the restoration of lighting on the embankment of the channel of the River Quake in the center of Aleppo. They have already laid almost five kilometers of wires and installed more than 50 colored lanterns. Among the volunteers are engineers, teachers, workers who, in their free time from work, help to restore their hometown.

Today, the Syrian government is building new transmission lines in the direction of Damascus-Aleppo to ensure a more regular and stable supply of electricity to Aleppo, the northern capital of Syria. Today, the task of restoring the city is designated as one of the priorities, for which significant funds have been allocated from the Syrian budget. Source (video).

Syria received a new batch of aid from Belarus, which was sent specifically for the Syrian people. It includes three generators, school supplies, medicines, food, clothes and shoes for children, as well as two 20-ton trucks and vehicles. Source.

A special medical day was held at the Church of St. Ephrem in Homs, in which several doctors of various medical specialties participated, as well as representatives of several pharmaceutical companies. As part of the medical day, a large number of people in need were examined, many also underwent a free medical examination and received important medications. Thanks to this humanitarian initiative during the war in Syria and the economic siege, many people were able to put their health in order. Source.

The first environmental campaign took place in the Syrian province of As-Swaida since the beginning of the Syrian crisis and the end of the terrorist conflict in the region. The campaign to plant one million trees in rural As-Swaida was launched the day before, and in the future it will be expanded to other parts of the province without greenery. The project is being held with the participation of civil society and representatives of the Karama Social Security Fund. Source.

March 17. A music school has opened in Aleppo.

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In this building there was a refugee accommodation center quite recently. Now the school has 150 students aged from 6 to 76 years. They can practice violin, piano, guitar, drums and, of course, national instruments. The probationary period continues for six months, during which the student can try to play different instruments, and then choose the one that he likes. Source (video).

March 19. Russia intends to transfer materials on the restoration of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra to UNESCO.

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Among the materials there will be a specially created 3D-model of the city. There will also be prepared an album from archival images, which will clearly show Palmyra ‘before and after’. All the materials will be transferred to UNESCO in the next two months. Source (video).

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society agreed with the international public non-governmental charitable organization ADRA on the restoration of damaged houses and schools in the city of Palmyra after a study tour to the ancient city, which the organization’s representatives made. The ADRA leadership took into account the scale of the damage caused by the terrorist organization.

After assessing the actual damage caused by attacks by the terrorist organization ISIS in Palmyra, an agreement was reached between the parties to repair the houses and schools necessary for Syrian students who want to return to classes. The program will cover all areas of the city. At the current stage, the focus will be on restoring the Qasr al-Heir primary school and Mahmoud Mutlaq high school. Source.

On the ruins of the Jobar region near Damascus, a unique exhibition was opened, the author of which was a soldier of the Syrian army. This is true Syrian underground in the literal sense of the word — the gallery is underground. Its first visitors were President Bashar Asad and his spouse. They say they really liked it. This dungeon was dug by militants. And one of the fighters of the Syrian army, who knocked them out of here a year ago, took a cutter, cut off all the excess and turned the tunnel into a work of art.

The exhibition is already open, but work on the project has not yet been completed. This tunnel leads from Jobar to Ain-Terma, and its length is more than three kilometers. For the artist, this is an almost unlimited field for creativity. Source.

March 20. Local authorities in Aleppo are continuing their efforts to fully restore the pumping station in the city of Maskana, located in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.

A huge plant on Lake Al-Asad suffered more than 80 percent during the capture of terrorists, who for many years destroyed the region. At the moment, workshops from different sectors are trying to repair and replace pumps and engines.

The plant will irrigate about 18,000 hectares of agricultural land, but interested parties seek to increase the irrigated area while continuing the reform process. The Maskana pumping station supplies drinking water to hundreds of villages and towns in eastern Aleppo. Source.

Now tourists from all over the world are returning to Syria. The authorities have done a great job in order to restore the main attractions in the shortest possible time. Particular attention is paid to Christian shrines. Almost all Syrian attractions can now be driven without risking to be ambushed by militants. Source.

The Ministry of Education launched the Damascus Educational Platform and opened the hall of contemporary art, created by the National Center for Curriculum Development at the Directorate of Education in Damascus as part of the meeting of the Educational and Cultural School named after Abdul Kader Arnaut.

Syria’s director of the educational platform, Mahmoud Hamed, said it provides ten lessons a day that allow the student and his guardian to open a new space for discussion on a specific subject. With the help of the platform, enriching training programs and videos are created, as well as PowerPoint presentations, audio and video files. Broadcasting starts from 10 to 13 o’clock.

On September 22, the National Curriculum Development Center launched the first educational platform in Syria, after which a platform for early learning was launched, providing direct communication between teacher and student in accordance with daily programs that provide lessons on developed curricula. Source.

The authorities of the province of Damascus are accelerating the pace of repair work on the main road in the eastern settlements of Ghouta, in preparation for its official opening. In the future, it will become an artery connecting East Ghouta and Damascus. Restoration and maintenance of the roads are at the final stage; they are now underway in the Zablatani area and continue across the bridge in the Ain-Tarma, Jisrin, Sakba, Kafr Batna and Zamalka areas.

The restoration work began six weeks ago and included the raising of debris, as well as their removal. In the future, opening the road will shorten the journey time to ten minutes, it is a vital route for the whole Ghouta. Source.

March 23. The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria has distributed humanitarian aid to the families of the dead and injured Syrian government army soldiers from the 18th Homs division.

Thus, the Russian military expressed their gratitude for the sacrifices and efforts of the Syrian forces during the liberation of the territory of their native country from terrorism. In addition, humanitarian aid once again confirmed the fact of strong relations between the Russian forces and the Syrian army during the fight against terrorists. Source.

At the University of Damascus, an educational exhibition for applicants and students was held at the conference center. The event was attended by Belarusian universities. The aim of the exhibition is to present Belarusian universities, their academic resources and opportunities, and to acquaint Syrian youth with the main universities of Belarus. Source.

New gas stations were opened in Homs to ease the load on the remaining stations located in the region. The maximum amount that will be allocated for the construction of stations amounted to 4.5 million liters of gasoline per day.

The oil minister inspected a number of gas stations in Homs and ordered all the company’s stations to work 24 hours a day, stressing the need to make a commitment to distribute the necessary quantities of fuel among citizens and to prevent any manipulations or irregularities associated with this by strengthening control and tracking of distribution routes in Homs and other provinces. The ministry has taken decisive steps to resolve the gasoline crisis in the city of Homs, increasing the daily gasoline consumption by 25% over the past few days. Source.

March 24. After a more than seven-year absence, 126 families returned to the village of Al-Buwaida, located in the vicinity of Quseir in the south of the Syrian province of Homs.

This village has become a safe and stable place thanks to the efforts of the Syrian government army. Previously, it was one of the important strongholds of the militants. In honor of the return of people in the city was a public holiday. People thanked the heroes of the Syrian Arab army for their efforts to restore security in their home village and in all other areas of Syria, stressing that the will to live freed Homs province and all of Syria from terrorism. Source.

Daraa City Council began taking out earthen mounds from the central area of ​​the city to reopen the main road to the mall after being closed for many years due to numerous terrorist attacks. When the Syrian government army regained security and stability throughout the city, it was decided to reopen this route. The central road is a vital link for all parts of the city, it connects Al-Sakhari, the national hospital, the department of culture and the bank to each other. The opening of this road is an important step towards the revitalization of economic activities that have stalled in the region for the past seven years. Source.

March 26. Russia donated high-tech medical equipment to Syria to equip hospitals in Tartus.

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The cargo was delivered by the military from the Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria. Its total weight is about one and a half tons. The cargo was received by representatives of the Ministry of Health of Syria.

This equipment is necessary for operating and surgical rooms, primarily for the treatment of children affected by armed conflict. First of all, it will be installed in the Tartus Central Children’s Hospital, where the main repair has already been completed and the operating rooms are ready, and after the technical equipment, the hospital will be ready to receive young patients by the beginning of summer. Source (video).

March 27. Thousands of Syrian families returned to the southeastern suburb of Aleppo after units of the government army regained full control of the area and ousted the terrorist organizations that had held it for a long time.

The suburb of Aleppo and the surrounding villages are characterized by fertile agricultural plains, most of these lands have already been planted by refugees returning to the region. The season of intense torrential rains that Syria has experienced this year has contributed to the growth of dense grass cover suitable for grazing. It is this region that supplies Aleppo with 40 tons of agricultural products every day, including vegetables and dairy products. Source.

March 28. Plant for the production of spices was restored in Syrian Aleppo.

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There are no similar spices in any country in the Middle East, therefore the plants, though small, immediately went to the international level. During the war, the factory was broken by militants, and equipment was stolen. Now all this is restored. Spices from Aleppo are bought by Canada, Germany, Australia, Iraq and Lebanon. One can find them in Russian stores too. Such demand helps production to grow rapidly and provide jobs for refugees who are now returning to liberated cities. Source (video).

More than 60 teams from Syria and Lebanon took part in the Fifth National Robotics Tournament, organized by the Department of Skill and Creativity in collaboration with the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology and the Lebanese Association for the Education of Robots «Kalimat». The competition included five labyrinths designed for children aged 6 to 8 years, a robot race for teenagers aged 12 to 15 years, as well as a robotics competition for young people aged 16 to 18 and an exhibition of university projects for students universities aged 19 to 25 years.

This competition is aimed at helping university students, schoolchildren and those who are interested in science and technology in Syria and Lebanon, to show their capabilities and abilities. Spreading the culture of robotics and assisting in the development and improvement of basic scientific educational skills such as teamwork, creativity, excellence, and a love of technology, science, mathematics, and technology are also the main objectives of the competition.

Twelve teams are expected to take part in the Arab Robot Championship, which will be held on April 14 at the University of Lebanon in Beirut. Source.

March 29. Russia will establish military courier-postal communication with Syria.

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Ministry to work out an agreement with Syrian colleagues to establish military courier-mail service between the countries. The corresponding decree appeared on the portal of legal information.

The text emphasizes that the document will be signed on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation with the possibility of making non-fundamental amendments. The annex already has a draft agreement between Russia and Syria on cooperation in the field of courier-postal communication. Source.

March 31. In East Ghouta, the production of the dairy factory was restored.

The East Ghouta dairy factory returned to work for the first time after a long pause. This week, many products from the factory were delivered to the Syrian market: milk, cheese, sour cream and butter. The long-awaited return of the plant to work was due to the efforts of the workers, who quickly repaired the equipment destroyed by the militants. Despite the difficult circumstances, the company will supply high quality food to the local market. The General Directorate of Food Industry in Damascus announced that all necessary conditions had been adopted to ensure the production of a high-quality product that meets international health standards. Source.

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The unique carpet production was resumed in Aleppo. This production in the Sheikh Nadjar industrial district on the outskirts of Aleppo is still gaining momentum. Every day about a hundred meters of carpets are produced for every taste and budget. There are simple and cheap, there are expensive, with an ancient Damascus ornament. The owner of the factory says that the building was completely destroyed by the militants, and the equipment was looted.

Now the factory owner employs ten people, but the popularity of carpets is such that he is already thinking about expanding production, which means that there will be more jobs. To reduce the cost of carpets, a Syrian-made thread is used, the production of which is located in the same industrial area, nearby. The main raw material is Syrian cotton, here it is of special quality.

Weaving and garment factories are constantly increasing the number of products. And this means that it is quite possible to reach the prewar volume of production. Source (video).

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