Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the Damascus international trade fair held in Damascus, capital of Syria, Aug. 28, 2019. With the participation of hundreds of foreign and local companies, the 61st round of the Damascus international trade fair kicked off here on Wednesday with a message of "victory" to the world.(Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)
DAMASCUS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- With the participation of hundreds of foreign and local companies, the 61st round of the Damascus international trade fair kicked off in the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday with a message of "victory" to the world.
Companies from 38 Arab and foreign companies took part in the Damascus international trade fair that was held on the Damascus Fairground under the motto "From Damascus to the World."
Several companies from China, Russia, Iran, Belarus, and India are taking part in the fair.
Companies from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in the fair for the first time since the beginning of the Syrian crisis more than eight years ago.
The fair, which is considered the Syrian economy's window to the world, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imad Khamis.
Khamis said in the opening speech that Syria, after 9 years of a hard and fierce war, is proud of the sacrifices of the army forces and their noble victories that liberated the majority of Syria from terrorism.
"The war, to which Syria was exposed, has never been of military or political feature only, but it was, in one side of it, an economic terrorist war," Khamis said.
He stressed that Damascus international fair returns to complete its economic, social, cultural and civilizational message and to be a juncture between the East and the West.
"Syria welcomes every project of economic cooperation, bilateral or collective, particularly it prepares for the reconstruction process with powerful investment opportunities, supported by intensified governmental efforts," Khamis said.
For his side, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that holding the fair this year sends a message to the entire world that the country is on the road of victory.
"It's important because this is another event which shows the entire world that Syria is on the road of victory both militarily on terrorism and economically. The number of companies and countries that are participating in this fair show that the world is coming to Syria," he told reporters in English.
The fair was suspended after the war began in 2011 and resumed in 2017. The aim of the fair during the last couple of years was to encourage foreign investments to involve in Syria's reconstruction.
A total of 500 companies will take part in the fair this year, according to state news agency SANA.
The fair comes this year amid U.S. threats of imposing sanctions on the companies that take part in the fair.
On Aug. 22, U.S. embassy in Damascus posted calls on its social networking platforms for boycotting the fair and threatened sanctions against the companies that take part in Damascus' trade fair.
However, the Syrian government has repeatedly stressed that it will turn to friendly countries to overcome the negative impacts of the sanctions, which it says are "unfair and target the livelihood of the Syrians."
Syria's Presidential Advisor Buthaina Shaaban was cited by SANA as saying that the unilateral U.S. sanctions on Syria are "illegitimate and lack international credibility."
Samer Khalil, the Syrian economy minister, was cited by the pro-government al-Watan newspaper as saying that all preparations are done regarding the opening of the fair, adding that there is an increase in the number of local companies taking part in the fair.
The fair this year also comes as the Syrian army is fighting the rebel groups in their last major stronghold in the northwestern province of Idlib.
The Syrian army has made notable progress in the battles, capturing key areas from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in the southern countryside of Idlib.
The Syrian army and government officials repeatedly stressed that all Syrian areas will be liberated from the rebel groups.