The Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad has signed new agreements to purchase and import wheat from its ally, Russia, as Syria’s domestic wheat yield and supplies continue to be insufficient this year.
According to the regime-owned news outlet, Tishreen, last Thursday, Syrian Minister of Internal Trade, Amr Salem, met with Russian public sector company representatives, in which they agreed to follow up on previous contracts for Russia’s supply of wheat to Syria.
The Syrian North Press Agency also reported last week that a source in the regime’s Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection told it that Damascus signed deals with Russian companies to purchase and import 600,000 tons of wheat. Those supplies are reportedly sufficient until the first half of 2023.
Over the past few years, Syria has suffered from a particularly low yield and production of domestic wheat due to a series of reasons including drought, water shortages and damage to infrastructure during the ongoing 11-year-long civil war.
According to media reports, the Assad regime’s Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Hassan Qatana, Syria requires 3.2 million tons of wheat but has only managed to produce 1.7 million tons this year, citing “exceptional climatic conditions”.
Throughout its shortages, Damascus has largely relied on Moscow for much of its wheat supply. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine – which raised worldwide fears of a global wheat and food shortage – seemed not to change that, as even after the Turkish and UN-backed deal between Moscow and Kyiv to allow grain shipments to leave Black Sea ports, many of those shipments went to Russian allies, such as the Assad regime.