Damascus and Aleppo are the principal commercial centers. Virtually all importers, exporters, and wholesalers have offices in one or both cities. The chief retail centers have general and specialized stores as well as large bazaars. Smaller bazaars and open markets are found in many Syrian towns and villages. Advertising agencies use newspapers, magazines, moving picture theaters, signs on buses, and other media.
The Syrian government cracked down on smuggling in May 1993. Most of the previously smuggled commodities can now be imported through official channels. Commodity smuggling from Lebanon, however, is still present and provides an "unofficial market" for imported products at the free market exchange rate reflective of world price levels.
Usual business hours are from 9 AM to 1 PM and from 3:30 PM to 7 PM . Friday is the weekly day of rest. Banking hours are Saturday–Thursday, 8 AM to 2 PM .
The Damascus International Fair and the Syrian Industrial Marketing Fair are annual events.