Under the elegant arches and domes of an Ottoman-era compound, Joseph Tobjian displays his aromatic Aleppo soap at a trade fair designed to revive Syria’s exports-starved arts and crafts. 
The soap maker is among more than 130 merchants taking part in the state-sponsored fair in Damascus for small businesses from Aleppo, northern Syria. 
The 61-year-old said he was surprised by the high number of visitors at the fair, including Damascus traders interested in his beauty products. 
Aleppo, Syria’s pre-war economic hub, is famed for its ancient crafts, hit hard by the conflict that broke out in 2011.