Assad says sanctions cause damage to Syrians, production increase needed

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 12, 2020 at 7:38 PM

DAMASCUS, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Western sanctions on Syria have caused damage to the Syrian people, adding that the response should be increasing production.

Assad made the remarks in a speech addressing the newly-elected Syrian parliamentarians at the People's Presidential Palace in the capital Damascus on Wednesday.

Speaking about the recently-imposed Caesar sanctions by the United States, Assad said the new set of sanctions is the latest in a string of economic siege that has caused big damage to the Syrian people.

He said the Caesar sanctions have additional damage and lots of psychological war.

The response to the economic siege, Assad continued, comes through increasing the production process in all sectors. He said the Syrian government will work on removing obstacles in the face of investments.

He noted that small investments should be supported as they support the national economy in the face of the economic siege.

The industry must also be supported as it reduces the need to import, he added.

On top of the challenges Syria is facing, Assad said, are the livelihood of the people, the economic situation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the president said that his government will continue to fight corruption, noting that fighting corruption has not stopped but increased in the latest few years.

During the one-hour-long speech, Assad took a pause for a few minutes as he suffered from a brief drop in blood pressure.

It's the first time for the 54-year-old president to have a mild health issue while delivering a speech.