Truck drivers wait with their vehicles at the closed main Jaber border crossing to Syria, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, April 2, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
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Syrian rebels' seizure of the main frontier crossing with Jordan has dealt a heavy blow to the Damascus government's efforts to revive a once thriving export trade crippled by civil war, and is also hurting businesses across the region.Now Damascus is trying to rebuild Syrian industry and exports to withstand sanctions imposed by the West and defeat the insurgency.Syrian exports climbed back to $1.8 billion last year, the highest level since the crisis began in 2011, according to Ihab Smandar, the president of the state-run Exports Promotion Authority. However, this fell far short of the import bill, which he estimated at $4.3 billion, and remained a small fraction of exports in 2010 which totaled $12 billion.Until now Syria's southern border has played a leading role in the revival drive: Jordanian figures show two-way trade with Syria was in the region of $2 billion last year.About 300 trucks had been crossing a day from Syria, a third of which were Lebanese vehicles heading to the Gulf, despite heavy fighting in the area.
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