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Residents walk through the rubble of the resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside, Syria, May 18, 2017 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

The Battle to Come Over Reconstruction in Syria

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017

Last month, for the first time in six years, the Syrian government hosted an international trade fair in Damascus. Staged at a fairground in the southern outskirts of the capital, near the airport, the exhibition was promoted as a sign of victory for President Bashar al-Assad. Russian, Iranian and Chinese companies headlined the list of attendees, which also included representatives of European firms.

The fair—last held in the summer of 2011, as Syria’s uprising was just turning into a civil war—“sends a message that the war has ended … and we are at the start of the path towards reconstruction,” said Bouthaina Shaaban, an Assad adviser who is often the face of the regime to Western media. ...

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