Syrian Railways Hopes To Relaunch Damascus-Aleppo Trains Within 2 Months - Director

ALEPPO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th May, 2020) Syrian railroad workers have restored 90 percent of the track between the capital Damascus and the city of Aleppo which had been destroyed by militants during the country's conflict, and trains should resume within two months, Director-General of Syrian Railways Najib Al-Fares said.

"We have almost completed the repairs, roughly 90 percent of the route between the two capitals has already been restored. We will launch the first train in a month or two which will take people from Aleppo to Damascus or back in four hours," Al-Fares told reporters at a press conference.

The director-general stated that government troops discovered that the track had been destroyed, and the rails and sleepers removed, after liberating territory from militant groups in the region.

"We have very old rolling stock. However, our technicians are assembling electric trains and diesel locomotives from old parts. The most important problem is the engines and we are counting on the help of our Russian friends," Al-Fares remarked.

At present, a small section of track, 12.4 miles in length, is in operation between Aleppo and the settlement of Jibrin, Al-Fares continued. The director-general stated that two trains run during the day, one in the morning and one in the evening, to bring workers and students to Aleppo.

The train is fully sanitized after each journey, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the director-general said.

According to Safan Kadur, an engineer at the repair depot, the restoration of Syria's rolling stock is well underway, and work is rapidly being done to get trains back on the rails.

In February, Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud announced that flights could resume once again from Aleppo International Airport, after a successful government campaign to recapture land previously held by terrorist organizations. The airport had been shuttered since 2013 when the city fell into rebel hands.