December 18, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos
DAMASCUS, Syria – Veterans of the Russian and Syrian national basketballs teams have squared off at Al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus in a friendly match.
The game amazingly ended in a 44:44 draw in what was part of the sports festival under the motto “Russia-Syria: Basketball Unifying Countries.”
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The game was organized with help from the Russian Embassy and the Russian Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo).
“We suggested playing such a friendly match, the Syrian side supported it. The effect is very simple. We want to show that, while the military is leaving, Russia is not going anywhere. We play basketball with the fraternal Syrian people, go in for sports, care about the younger generation,” the agency’s interim head Alexey Frolov stressed.
“It is important for us to tell the whole world that the match is taking place in Damascus, that there is no longer war here, that ordinary people live here and that life goes on its usual way. We want to state that we have defeated terrorism and made our capital safe,” head of the Syrian Olympic Committee Mowaffaq Jouma explained.
Like in most Mediterranean countries, basketball is the second most popular sport after football.
Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies. He has an MA in International Relations and is interested in Great Power Rivalry as well as the International Relations and Political Economy of the Middle East and Latin America.