Several foreign companies have found ways to invest in Syria despite Western sanctions, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
"Most recently, a number of large international companies have started to come to Syria using different methods which enable them to evade the sanctions. So, there is a possibility now for these companies to work in Syria without facing sanctions," he said. "Of course, I cannot discuss these methods, but we have started to see a return of foreign investment."
"It is true that the movement is slow, but I believe it is a good start — a promising start, to support the reconstruction process which we have started. We did not wait; we have begun in some areas and in order to expand there must be a larger number of companies and investments," TASS quoted al-Assad as saying.
"Since 2018, there has been a great interest from big companies outside of Syria — Arab and non-Arab, to participate in the reconstruction. However, what’s happening is that the Americans are applying huge pressure and threatening individuals and companies alike; this has no doubt frightened some of these companies," the Syrian leader pointed out. "There are several Russian companies which want to invest in Syria but fear taking any step. Chinese companies have the same problem."
The Syrian president pointed out that foreign companies are most interested in rebuilding the republic’s destroyed suburbs. "Another sector is oil and gas, which is also profitable," he noted. "There are already a number of Russian companies that have started operating in Syria during the past few years and are now planning to increase production."
"The biggest obstacle preventing expansion in this sector is the terrorist and American occupation of the most important sites of oil wells in Syria," al-Assad stressed. "The Americans know this of course, and that’s why they continue to occupy the oil wells and obstruct the reconstruction process."
"If the war stopped completely, Syrian society is capable of rising in a strong manner and that we will be stronger economically than we were before the war. This is why they [the USA] have resorted to threatening Syrian and foreign companies," the Syrian leader said. "In other words, if a Syrian citizen wants to invest in Syria, they will likely be sanctioned, or oil revenues are prevented from returning to Syria. The more important factor is the ongoing war, which discourages companies and prevents them from coming to Syria. If these three factors are eliminated, we have no problem in rebuilding the country."
"We have strong human and material resources in Syria and we also have faithful friends like Russia and Iran who will help us," al-Assad concluded.