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‘Rebuild Syria’ off to a dubious start

A “Rebuild Syria” exposition represents “one step among steps” towards […]

17 September 2015

A “Rebuild Syria” exposition represents “one step among steps” towards rebuilding Syria, the Minister of Public Works said at the event’s inauguration on Wednesday.

“The participation of 65 local, Arab and international companies is evidence of Syria’s steadfastness,” said Public Works Minister Hussein Arnous at the sparsely attended event.

The exposition, which purports to showcase the wares of companies selling building materials, will continue until Sunday, “offering the opportunity to get to know the products and market them in the proper way,” said Arnous.

Arnous did not mention the ongoing war in Syria.

A handful of kiosks in the mostly empty exhibition space featured stone tiles and wood samples, including, inexplicably, fuchsia parquet, along with a collection of drills and, of course, posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s head. The thin crowd also perused large photographs of various buildings, which may or may not be standing today, across Syria.

The Belarusian ambassador to Syria, also in attendance, said he was there as a representative of his country’s financial sector, emphasizing that Belarusian private industry is “prepared to meet the needs of re-building Syria.”

Speakers at the expo did not mention any specific areas targeted for re-building, although the regime previously evicted residents in Damascus’ Mezze Orchards neighborhood this past summer and bulldozed houses in order to “regulate” unlicensed housing in the area.

The Public Establishment for International Fairs and Exhibitions, which took part in organizing the event and runs the expos center on the Airport Road just outside the capital, sees the exposition as a chance to “resuscitate” the Exhibition City space, which has largely remained unused in recent months. 

– Photo courtesy of Re-build syria

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