Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that sanctions by the West on the war-ravaged country have caused tremendous damage to the people of Syria. He added that the response must be raising production. Assad's remarks came during the speech at the People's Presidential Palace in the capital Damascus in which he addressed the newly-elected Syrian parliamentarians, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Big Damage to Syrians

Speaking about the recently-imposed Caesar sanctions by the US, 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.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Wikimedia Commons

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.

Committed to Fighting Corruption

The President also 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.

The President also 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.

(With inputs from agencies)