Iran has agreed to build 200,000 housing units in the Syrian capital Damascus, the Tasnim News Agency reported on Sunday.
Tehran province Vice Chairman of Mass-Housing Constructors Association Iraj Rahbar revealed the plan, noting that it was one of a number of agreements on civil construction, tourism and the agriculture industry, the news agency reported.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said that the building project is likely to start within the next three months, pointing out that Rahbar said the Syrian regime prefers Iranian companies and contractors to reconstruct the war-torn country.
"In our recent trip to Syria, along with First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri Kouhshahi and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was inked between Iran and Syria to construct 200,000 residential units in the Arab country," Rahbar said.
The London-based news website said that the Syrian regime and Iran signed 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding in January, including a "long-term strategic economic cooperation" deal aimed at strengthening cooperation with Damascus.
The new agreements come as Iran and Syria are facing US economic sanctions. "These deals are aimed at quietening the streets of Iran by suggesting that the Iranian losses endured by supporting the Syrian regime's brutal war are paying off," researcher and Syrian economist Younis Al-Karim told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
"The Iranians will not be given strategically important contracts in Syria, as those are dominated by Russia, which controls most of the vital reconstruction plans. That is why the Iranians choose the housing sector," Al-Karim explained.
"These housing units are a loss, because they will be cheap and therefore low quality. Iran knows these are losing projects, especially against the backdrop of the falling Syrian pound."