In an apparent step towards global reintegration, a Syrian delegation made a rare appearance at the annual meeting of the WB and the IMF.
Efforts to resurrect the Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline have recently gained momentum. However, financial constraints and political and security instability continue to deter the project's implementation.
Damascus International Airport has resumed flights after being hit by an Israeli airstrike on October 12, while the Aleppo International Airport remains - at the moment of publishing - out of service after coming under Israeli fire twice, on October 12 and October 14. It appears flights in Aleppo airport will resume Wednesday 18, since two flights to Erbil and Sharjah are scheduled that day, according to Flightradar24.
The ongoing Turkish retaliatory attacks in northeast Syria have severely affected oil, water, electricity, education, and health infrastructure.
Five months after Syria’s reinstatement in the Arab League, normalisation with Bashar Al-Assad seems to have yielded few Damascus concessions: captagon trade is surging, there is no sign of steps towards stabilisation, political reforms, or refugee return.
President Bashar Al-Assad’s handshake with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on September 22 marks a significant step in Syria’s reintegration into the global diplomatic sphere. Despite much fanfare, however, it is unlikely that promises by China's foreign minister Wang Yi’s “to take ties to a new level” will materialise into investments in Syria’s cash-strapped economy, given the recent decrease in China’s footprint in the country and Syria’s distressed business environment.
A decision by the Syrian government to shift phosphate exports handled by the Port of Lattakia to the port of Tartous has highlighted tensions between the foreign private operators of these ports and the government. Syria holds the fourth or fifth largest rock phosphate reserves worldwide.
In the first eight months of 2023, Syria’s non-oil foreign trade reached USD 2.681 billion, including imports of USD 2.161 billion, according to a statement by Prime Minister Hussein Arnous before the Parliament on September 17.
Amid rising food insecurity levels and wheat shortages, the Syrian government has recently contracted with Russian suppliers for the import of 1.4 million tonnes of soft wheat, which is used to produce bread. The wheat harvest across the country has improved this year but still falls short of the local demand.
A month after the U.N. and the Syrian government reached a bilateral agreement to replace the defunct U.N. Security Council mandated cross border mechanism, aid flow into northwest Syria has slowed to a trickle.
The Syrian government recently inaugurated a new gas well in Palmyra that will help narrow the gap between supply and demand. It is the second such gas well to start production in recent months. Meanwhile, the government has contracted an otherwise little known company to invest in various oil and gas fields in Palmyra and around Deir-ez-Zor.
The chronic underfunding of Syria’s humanitarian operation has taken a darker turn this summer with cuts affecting 2.5 million people in Syria, and dozens of thousands in Jordan and Iraq.
Protests against the Syrian regime, which are reminiscent of the 2011 uprising, shed light on the government’s continuous failure to fulfil decade-long demands.
Earlier this month, Iranian officials confirmed that they will soon launch several investments in Syria’s telecommunications, banking, and insurance sectors.
The government has allowed the UN to use the Bab Al-Hawa crossing, raises concerns about Damascus’ role in humanitarian aid operations in areas under opposition control.
The Syrian government has licensed two Saudi-owned companies to invest in Syria’s phosphate, fertiliser, and cement sectors, a rare instance of Saudi investments in the country since the 2011 conflict began. The decision is also a notable development given that, until now, Damascus has largely reserved the phosphate and fertiliser sectors to its traditional allies.
The E.U. is suing Syria over its failure to repay decades-old loans from the European Investment Bank.
Since the cross-border aid mechanism for the only UN-mandated border crossing expired last week, UN agencies and NGOs have been bracing themselves for major disruptions to their humanitarian operations in Northwest Syria, where over 4 million people need emergency assistance. Although another vote has yet to be scheduled, many fear that Russia will continue to veto future resolutions.
Due to Russia’s veto, the UNSC has failed to adopt a compromise resolution to extend the cross-border mechanism that allows lifesaving aid to be delivered to millions of people in northern Syria.
Syria recently announced plans to apply for membership in the BRICS economic bloc in hopes that its entry would lessen its dependence on the U.S. dollar, facilitate investments in the country, and allow it to bypass sanctions.