An Iranian MP has criticised Tehran’s insignificant and minor role in the rebuilding of Syria, until now, amid the competition among various states and companies for reconstruction opportunities in regime-held Syrian territory.
According to Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency, Iranian MP, Hossein-Ali Haji-Deligani, criticised on Friday last week, Tehran’s “meagre” share in rebuilding war-torn Syria “despite the support accorded to the Syrian government and people during the war”.
Stressing that “we have so far not done enough in playing a central role in Syria’s reconstruction”, Haji-Deligani claimed that “The countries that were the main cause of the Syrian war, now have the initiative in rebuilding the country.” He did not specify which countries he was referring to, but said that “Western countries and their regional agents who backed ISIS [Daesh] are today reaping the lion’s share of Syria’s reconstruction”.
Western nations and companies have not yet directly invested in the reconstruction efforts underway in areas held by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, at least according to public knowledge and records.
Western allies in the region have recently been conducting some investments into the war-torn country, such as the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) launching of housing projects in Syria’s Lattakia and Saudi Arabia’s investments into Syria’s phosphate, fertiliser and cement sectors.
Turkiye has carried out the most notable reconstruction efforts in the country such as the building of thousands of homes and settlements to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees, but those projects are in the northern territories that are under the control of Syrian rebel groups and the Turkish military.
There have not yet been any signs of large-scale reconstruction projects in the majority of Syria, held by the Assad regime and its allied groups and forces, despite years of talks of rebuilding the country amid the regime’s recapture of most territories with the help of Iran and Russia. Competing forces vying for the acquisition of major contracts, however, have included Russia, China and Iran.
The Iranian MP’s comments came a week after Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, made a visit to Damascus, during which he urged Syrian authorities to implement the significant bilateral agreements between Iran and Syria which were signed when Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, visited the country back in May.
These agreements include long-term strategic cooperation in fields such as railways, civil aviation, oil and free trade, with Syrian and Iranian officials having agreed on eight specialised committees in investment, trade, industry, oil and agriculture.
Aside from the lack of reconstruction opportunities in Syria, Tehran is also significantly concerned with the fate and repayment of the approximately $50 billion it has sent to Damascus throughout the ongoing 12-year-long conflict.