07:26 GMT18 February 2020
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Syrian President Bashar Assad's aide, Bouthaina Shaaban, said that Washington threatens the participants in the 61st Damascus International Fair by posing as a "policeman with a baton".

    "To be interested in those who come to the exhibition and to determine any specific sanctions for the participants ... means that they are afraid. Such a state as the United States should not talk about such insignificant things", Shaaban told Syrian state television.

    According to Shaaban, the United States is trying to pretend to be a "cop with a baton" and its statements cause more problems for Washington itself than for anyone else.

    Shaaban noted that she had been included in sanctions lists and banned from visiting European countries and the United States.

    "The behavior of the United States is similar to the behavior of any empire, the end of all of which was the same: they used the same style and language", the official concluded.

    The US Embassy in Damascus, which was closed in 2012, has recently stepped up its activities on social media, urging foreign companies to avoid participating in the exhibition, threatening them with possible sanctions.

    The diplomatic mission called participation in the exhibition of foreign companies and businessmen "unacceptable", urging everyone to notify US authorities about specific exhibitors via email.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that Moscow considered US attempts to disrupt the Damascus International Fair to be detrimental to Syria and contrary to UN Security Council resolutions.

    The Damascus International Fair was held annually since 1954 up until the crisis in 2011. The annual fair was resumed in 2017 and has established itself as the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

    This year, the 61st Damascus International Fair is scheduled to be held from 28 August - 6 September.

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