Subjects – Syria Report



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.
Recent reports have sounded the alarm on the bleak water crisis that five million people in northeast Syria are facing. The roots of the water dilemma are entangled and protracted and the political instability in the northeast hinders efforts to design a comprehensive strategy to manage the dwindling water resources. 
On September 7, the Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, declared his forces had “full control” of the areas in Deir-ez-Zor province that had witnessed 12-day clashes between the US-backed SDF and some local Arab tribes. 
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.


Prior to the uprising, China was a major trade partner of Syria and had investments in the country, especially in its petroleum sector. Although trade increased following the 2011 conflict, Chinese companies largely withdrew from the market.
This report provides an overview of the origins, activities, and backers of these prominent PSCs in regime-held areas, highlighting their intricate and interconnected nature.


Rehabilitation and investment of Badia Al-Cham Hotel in Deir ez-Zor.
Al-Maham, part of the Katerji network, was founded in Aleppo in 2017 by Abdallah Mohammad Nizar Katerji and Ghayth Mohammad Katerji, expanding its operations to several regions in 2019.
Al-Fajr, also known as Dawn, was founded in Damascus in January 2018 by Lawrence Halawa Mazhar and Khaled Walid Abaza.