Subjects – Syria Report

Fares Shehabi


Wassim Qattan is a Damascene businessman who emerged among Syria’s business elite only a few years ago and is believed to be acting as a front for powerful regime personalities. Unknown prior to 2017, Mr Qattan has acquired several high-profile contracts from state institutions in the real estate and hospitality sectors. With little information on his source of wealth, he is widely believed to be acting as a front for wealthy and powerful regime personalities, even if the identity of his sponsor remains unclear.
Fares Shehabi (b. 1972), also known as Fares Ahmad Al-Shehabi, is a prominent Aleppan businessman who is mainly active in the pharmaceutical sector. Throughout the decade-long conflict, Mr Shehabi has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the regime.
Khodr Ali Taher, also known as Abou Ali Khodr, is a prominent Syrian businessman who grew increasingly influential in the last few years – an archetype of war profiteers in the country. In recent days, there have been several reports that Mr Taher has been arrested by the government or is on the run, highlighting the rapidly shifting allegiances and fragility of post-war business networks in Syria.
In his first visit to a country that is neither Russia nor Iran since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad travelled to the United Arab of Emirates last week to meet with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince. Although Syrian businessmen are optimistic about the economic prospects that may follow such a visit, western sanctions, among them the Caesar Act, will likely continue to deter and complicate investments in the country.
Syrian, Lebanese, and Jordanian officials have moved one step further towards implementing an electricity supply deal after signing an agreement in Beirut last week. Following the meeting, new details regarding the World Bank's potential role in financing the deal and the pricing of Jordan's exported energy were disclosed.


Syria has four large industrial cities located near Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Deir-ez-Zor. The government built them to attract large-scale industrial projects, increase exports of high-value-added industrial products and create employment opportunities.
This report provides an overview of Syria’s railway sector from the early 2000s until today. It sheds light on the sector prior to the Syrian uprising; the many projects that coincided with President Bashar Al-Assad’s ambition of transforming the country into the region’s transport hub; the damages to the sector caused by the decade-long conflict; and the challenges to the sector’s reconstruction.
Since the start of the conflict, the average wealth and the median wealth of Syrian adult citizens have decreased by some 80 percent each, according to a recent report on global wealth. Compared with figures from 2000, wealth and median wealth per adult in 2020 decreased by 48 percent and 57 percent, respectively, while debt surged by 76 percent.


Real estate investment and development; Establishing real estate projects which are (1) priority projects, (2) social projects and (3) non-tourist special services area projects; supporting the state's plan in implementing projects in a manner that takes into account sustainable development.
Providing consulting in the field of finance, feasibility studies, and business sector support services for individuals.
Selling electronic equipment and designing websites and applications.