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Syria hosts first international basketball match in years

Syria hosts its first international basketball game in years

Location: Damascus, Syria

Date: November 29, 2021

Hundreds of fans attended a World Cup qualifying match

between Syria and Kazakhstan

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASKETBALL FAN, TAHA, SAYING:

"I cannot describe how I feel. We have been waiting for this for a long time. I couldn't miss such a historical moment, I'm here to watch and hopefully we will win and we will qualify."

All sports activities were suspended in Syria in 2011

after a conflict erupted between government forces and opposition fighters

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASKETBALL FAN, MAZEN HINDI, SAYING:

"It is a very important step to see a team coming to play in Syria for the first time since 2010, which was when the last sports match was played between Syria and Iraq in the Asian Cup qualifiers that were held in Qatar in 2011. The teams played at Abaseen stadium where 45,000 people attended the game. Today we are reliving the same experience at al-Fayhaa stadium in Damascus, hopefully it will be a good beginning, people have missed this and today at al-Fayhaa stadium, we can see audiences from across Syria. This is very important in order to resume sport activities and take steps towards easing the ban on Syrian sports in the near future."

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