Recent reports indicate that the Katerji brothers, possibly the most influential business figures to have emerged during the Syrian conflict, are facing increasing pressure from the Syrian authorities. The Katerji Group, a group of various companies owned by Hussam, Baraa, and several of their brothers, control several large investment projects in or around Aleppo that are nominally in the hands of the state.
The National Islamic Bank has officially started its operations in Syria, becoming the first new bank to start operations since the beginning of the uprising in 2011.
Initial figures appear to indicate that Syria’s cement market, a proxy for construction activity, will contract again this year, despite the earthquake-related reconstruction needs and the investment that was expected after the Arab rapprochement with Damascus.
The Autonomous Administration in Northeast Syria has legalised electronic money wallets and electronic payments, and has issued a new investment law in a bid to enhance the economic self-sustainability of Northeast Syria.
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.
Earlier this year, a company linked to the Katerji family began construction work on commercial and residential complexes in Marota City. Marota City is an upscale real estate development that is being built on expropriated land and informal settlements in areas that were largely opposed to the government during the Syrian uprising. This luxurious development project launched more than ten years ago has largely failed to attract investment so far, although several regime cronies showed initial interest in it.