Subjects – Syria Report



The Ministry of Public Works and Housing announced on July 18 that it had signed contracts worth SYP 142 billion--around USD 56.5 million at the official exchange rate -- to build residential towers in the Basilia City real estate development south of Damascus.


Damascus Cham Holding Private JSC (DCH) is a private sector holding company fully owned by the Damascus governorate. In 2016, it was set up to develop and manage two large real estate areas in Damascus, as well as various other projects on behalf of the governorate. The largest – and most controversial – of these projects is Marota City, considered by many to be “Syria’s Solidere,” in reference to the controversial Lebanese firm that developed Beirut’s devastated downtown after that country’s 1975-90 civil war.
This report provides an overview of the Marota City project since its inception in 2012, shedding light on the legislative policies governing the project, the private sector developers involved, the interest shown by foreign investors, the impact of European sanctions on the project’s progress, and the symbolic precedent Marota City sets for a post-conflict Syria.
This report will shed light on the economic relations between Syria and the UAE prior to 2011 and will trace the evolution of the bilateral relationship during the first half of the Syrian conflict. It will also focus on the path towards normalisation that has taken place in recent years, providing an overview of the business and economic ties since 2018 and covering the political and diplomatic developments that have taken place in the past six months.