News

14-05-2024
Damascus has opened the tobacco sector to private investment, a move that puts an end to decades of state monopoly over the harvesting, production, and trading of tobacco. The revenues of tobacco and cigarette sales of the General Organisation for Tobacco stood at SYP 433 billion in 2023, with a net profit of SYP 19.5 billion.
14-05-2024
The Iraqi Federal Government stopped issuing work visas for Syrians in January and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) followed suit, halting issuing not only work but also tourist visas for Syrian nationals as of March 29. These recent decisions restricting the possibility of Syrians to visit or reside in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan region mark a shift in the until-now ‘welcoming’ policy environment towards Syrian refugees since the onset of the Syrian conflict. This move is expected to slash the flow of remittances from Syrians working in Iraq, a country that is hosting 263,920 Syrian refugees.
14-05-2024
The Autonomous Administration in Northeast Syria has announced advancements in the establishment of an industrial city in Manbij that will host 610 shops and workshops on 430,000 square metres. Construction works started in 2023 and the project is bound to be completed in 2025.
07-05-2024
Two events last week highlighted the specific role the Czech Republic plays in relations between the European Union and Syria. The Czech State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travelled to Damascus where he met with Syrian officials, becoming one of the most senior European diplomats to visit Syria since the onset of the uprising in 2011. Meanwhile, a Czech engineering company got involved in the electricity sector, which is sanctioned by the EU.
07-05-2024
The Syrian government is planning to issue soon Sukuks, Islamic-compliant bonds, as its latest treasury bond auctions failed spectacularly. This move is likely a consequence of the spectacular failure of the latest auctions by the Treasury to raise money through the issuance of conventional bonds.
30-04-2024
The Syrian government has issued their wheat procurement prices at SYP 5.5 million (around USD 366) per tonne, a stark increase from the SYP 2.8 million per tonne offered to local farmers in 2023 and the SYP 2 million offered in 2022.
30-04-2024
A visit by the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce to Saudi Arabia, initially scheduled for April 24, has been “postponed,” without a clear explanation, although a source close to the Syrian federation blamed elections at the Saudi Chamber of Commerce scheduled for this week.
30-04-2024
War profiteer Khaled Zubaidi has established a Public Joint Stock company to invest in the sports sector with a capital of SYP 26 billion, equivalent to around USD 1.7 million. The company was registered in December 2023 under the name of Al-Wahda Investment and Development PJSC, according to the Official Gazette records. The name is a nod to the Al-Wahda sports club from Damascus.
23-04-2024
Amnesty International has documented “large-scale and systematic violation of rights” in the detention system in northeast Syria. The detention network in AANES areas holds 56,000 people; 10,000 of them (mostly men) in 27 detention facilities, and 46,000 (mostly women and  children) in two detention camps: Al-Hol and Roj. The U.S. has played a prominent role in funding the vast detention network in the northeast. Since 2015 up till now, U.S. military funding to Syria has neared USD 2 billion.
23-04-2024
On January 28, Russian company RPOST-M LLC was established in Syria to provide security services. The company was founded by Maxim Yurievich Grekhov, reportedly a former undercover officer for the Russian intelligence services. The recent establishment of the RPOST-M branch in Damascus may suggest a strategy of distributing the previous interest of Wagner among different companies, instead of a single company or leader.
23-04-2024
On March 20, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad issued Law No. 18 of 2024 exempting microfinance banks from taxes and fees. The combined assets of the four microfinance banks stood at less than SYP 200 billion at the end of 2022, less than those of the smallest private sector commercial bank, Bank Al-Sharq.
17-04-2024
A new cement factory linked to war profiteer Samer Foz was established in December with a capital of USD 416 million, becoming one of the largest private companies in the country. The Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection approved on December 13 the establishment of Modern Cement Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC), a cement manufacturer located in Rural Damascus.
16-04-2024
The United Kingdom holds GBP 163.2 million in frozen assets of Syrian individuals and entities under U.K.’s Syria sanctions. U.K. authorities have also seized a GBP 26 million property from Rifaat Al-Assad in London, and have collected nearly GBP 200,000 in penalties for sanction violations.