DAMASCUS, December 18. /TASS/. Veterans of the Russian and Syrian national basketball squads have played a friendly match at Al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus, a TASS correspondent reported.
The game ended in a draw with a score of 44:44. It was held as part of the sports festival under the motto "Russia-Syria: Basketball Unifying Countries" organized with the assistance of the Russian Embassy and the Russian Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo).
According to the agency’s interim head Alexey Frolov, the idea to hold a friendly match emerged spontaneously. "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," he 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 stressed.
Basketball is the second most popular team sport in Syria after football. The national team’s home matches are held in Malaysia so far, but the country plans to take part in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.