Syria has recently signed a memorandum of understanding on joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a long-term, transcontinental infrastructure and investment project that aims to economically integrate countries falling along the ancient Silk Road trade route. Although the agreement is not legally binding, Syria would benefit immensely from its prospective inclusion, as the projects brought about by the initiative would contribute to the country’s post-war reconstruction.
After over twenty years of negotiations, the Iranian government has announced that work on a multi-million dollar railway connection from the Iranian town of Shalamcheh to Iraq’s Basra is set to begin within two months. The link is part of a more significant railway project to connect Iran's Imam Khomeini Port with Syria’s Lattakia Port, the country’s main commercial port.
The Israeli attack on the Lattakia Port’s container yard last week caused "significant material damage," according to state media, and is likely to depress further commercial activity at the port. Container traffic through the Lattakia Port has declined significantly since the beginning of last year, decreasing by 38 percent on a year-on-year basis.
The Australian-Syrian Business Council (ASBC), a business networking organisation that aims to develop economic relations between the two countries, was launched by a group of Australian businessmen of Syrian origin last month. According to the council's president, the ASBC received the required approvals from Australian authorities, which would be a rare move given Australia's opposition to the Syrian government.
Iran’s crude oil exports to Syria have remained stable for the third quarter in a row, at around 6.9 million barrels for the last three months of 2021. On a year-on-year basis, 2021 witnessed a 42.2 percent surge in Iranian oil shipments to Syria.
The Ministry of Electricity has recently announced that electricity will be heavily rationed ahead of the winter season given that local production remains a fraction of demand. Meanwhile, the government plans to activate a new service this month that would allow businesses to avoid rationing electricity altogether in return for paying extremely high fees.
Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham has increased customs duties on goods exchanged through the Al-Ghazawiya crossing, which is shared with the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, leading to a surge in the prices of imported goods, according to several opposition media outlets.
Last week, a high-ranking delegation of Iranian ministers, parliamentary officials, and private sector businesspersons met with their Syrian counterparts in yet another attempt to activate past agreements and projects.
The Syrian government is arranging to import hundreds of cows from Iran, according to the Damascus Chamber of Agriculture. The plan further confirms shortages in the country, whose livestock sector was self-sufficient prior to the conflict.
For the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict, Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Damascus to discuss boosting bilateral ties and economic relations with President Bashar Al-Assad.
Last week, Ali Reza Rashidian, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organisation, met with Syrian officials in Damascus to discuss religious tourism and agreed to permit Iranian Shia pilgrims into Syria.
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan have announced that they have reached a deal over the sale of Jordanian electricity to Lebanon via Syria. The nature and extent of Syria’s benefits from the deal is not yet clear.
The Ministry of Electricity announced that it has contracted an Iranian engineering firm to rehabilitate the Mhardeh Power Plant in Hama.
Within two years, the Syrian government’s budget has been reduced by nearly 50 percent when measured in dollar terms. Next year’s budget stands at USD 5.3 billion, a 22-percent decrease from the 2021 budget, while the budget's deficit is around SYP 4.1 trillion (or USD 1.6 billion).
Iran's crude oil exports to Syria have remained stable for the third quarter of the year, while on a year-on-year basis, total crude oil exports from Iran have increased.
Last month, an Iranian private insurance company announced that its first foreign branch will soon be established in Syria. Having obtained the necessary approvals, Mellat Insurance Company (MIC) – a US-sanctioned company that belongs to the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order, a parastatal organisation under the direct control of Iran’s Supreme Leader – will be the first Iranian company to enter Syria’s insurance sector.
On September 28, the Ministry of Industry announced that it will open 38 destroyed or damaged state-owned factories for private investment.
Official Iranian delegations continue to flood into Syria to urge the government to implement past agreements, increase cooperation, and boost bilateral trade.
Since the beginning of September, Syria witnessed a spike in positive COVID-19 cases and an increase in COVID-19-related deaths, straining Syria’s already fragile healthcare system.
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released its 29th annual Terrorist Asset Report, which documents assets owned in the United States that are blocked, i.e. frozen, under the U.S. Counter-Terrorism Sanctions.