An affiliate of the Bemo banking group is providing microfinance loans to members of a charity linked to a militia that fought during the war and to various Iranian political figures. The charity is based in the Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab. Another company involved in this project is the local agent of Western Union. The move carries serious risks to the group’s reputation.
The numbers of Syrian refugees and IDPs increased last year to 13.5 million, a 2 percent increase from 13.2 million people in 2020, and 13.1 million in 2019.
Syria’s Katerji brothers have been blacklisted by six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – in the first such known act against prominent regime-affiliated businessmen by countries of the region.
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.
The government increased the price at which it buys cotton and tobacco from local farmers by up to 67 percent per tonne.
The following is an interview conducted by The Syria Report with Dan Stoenescu, head of the European Union Delegation to Syria. Mr Stonescu talks about a variety of issues, including the outcomes of the latest Brussels conference, the renewal of the U.N. resolution on the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing, the OFAC licence authorising investment in Syria's northern areas, the ties between member states and the Syrian government.