Subjects – Syria Report



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.
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 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.
A Russian oil company, which has been linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, has recently opened an office in Damascus. The company has been embroiled in Lebanese-Syrian maritime disputes after the government granted it exclusive rights to explore and drill for oil and gas in a block in the Mediterranean sea that apparently overlaps with Lebanese maritime areas.
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 this 2,600-word report, The Syria Report provides an overview of the recent history and status of Syria's three commercial maritime ports in Lattakia, Tartous, and Banias.
This 5,000-word report will first provide an overview of Syria’s economic and financial relations with Russia before the outbreak of the conflict. It will then shed light on the various projects and investments that have taken place since 2011. The third section will examine Moscow’s struggle to advance its economic interests in 2020. Finally, the concluding sections will cover the most recent developments in bilateral economic relations.
The following updated and expanded report describes the main components of Iranian-Syrian economic relations. The first two sections will examine trade and economic and business relations between the two countries prior to and following the 2011 conflict. The third will provide an overview of Iranian involvement in a variety of sectors, while the fourth will elaborate on Iran's growing economic foothold in the country since 2020. Finally, the fifth section will provide insight into the prospects of Iranian-Syrian relations.
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.
This report provides an overview of the phosphate sector prior to and following the Syrian conflict. It also sheds light on various projects, both implemented and abandoned, in the phosphate industry; the competition between Iran and Russia over the potentially lucrative sector; and the implications of the privatisation of Syria’s phosphate industry.


Stroytransgaz is one of Russia's main engineering and construction companies.