Syrian businessman George Heswani has operated in Syria’s oil and gas sector since the 1990s but gained notoriety throughout the decade-long conflict due to his close association with Russia and his alleged role in brokering deals with the Islamic State on the Syrian government’s behalf. The businessman was most recently implicated in the Beirut port explosion of 2020.
A new report on the NGO sector in Aleppo highlights the prominent role regime figures play in the industry, as well as the high dependency of NGOs on UN funding.
Stroytransgaz, a Russian engineering and construction company, has become a major player in Syria’s economy over the past few years, expanding its pre-conflict activities and reaching into new sectors. It has won major contracts in the fields of phosphates, port management, and fertilisers, at times at the expense of Iranian competitors, and has grown into a major symbol of Russia’s growing economic and political sway in Syria.
Syria’s gross domestic product declined in 2020 for the first time in four years, according to data released by the Syrian government.
The World Bank released on June 09 its first comprehensive report in years on the state of the Syrian economy. The report uses innovative remote-based data to measure some key indicators, such as nighttime lights and nighttime lights-based output estimates, shipping-position data, and population and conflict maps. Some of the findings raise questions, however, while the report lacks any political economy dimension. Unsurprisingly, the forecasts for the coming years are gloomy.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has inaugurated a gas field in Homs with an estimated reserve of 9 billion cubic meters of gas – the first field to be inaugurated since 2009. So far, the government has begun extracting gas from one well in the field but plans to put two others into operation by the end of the year.