Syrians want Russian business help to rebuild country – Assad

A employee works in the Ebla natural gas plant near Homs, northeast of Damascus, April 22, 2010. © Khaled al-Hariri
Syrian President Bashar Assad has called on Russian companies to work in Syria to help restore the war-torn country.

"Assad specifically underlined that in rebuilding Syria, the Syrian people rely on Russia's help. He urged all [Russian – Ed.] companies to do business with Syria," Russian Communist Party member Alexander Yushchenko told RIA Novosti.  The announcement followed the arrival of a delegation of Russian Parliament members in Damascus last week.

Assad proposed intensifying Russia-Syria cooperation in the oil sector, according to Yushchenko. He added that the two countries currently have contracts for exploration of oil fields on the [Mediterranean] shelf, saying that there are many other projects that Moscow and Damascus are ready to develop.

Yushchenko also said that Assad had invited Russian companies to participate in rebuilding homes in Syria.

Last week Assad visited Moscow to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He thanked Russia for the support provided to Syria in fighting terrorism, and help restoring the country’s sovereignty and unity.  The two presidents also discussed the issue of Syria’s economic recovery.

In July, the executive director of the Russian Union of Gas and Oil Industrialists, Gissa Guchetl said Russian businesses would consider resuming energy contracts in Syria worth $1.6 billion if the country manages to stabilize from its civil war.