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Iranian and Syrian media have reported the signing, by officials from the two countries, of several agreements that would allow Iran to improve the production and distribution of electricity in war-torn Syria.
One agreement reportedly includes the building of a 540-megawatt power plant in the Latakia province, while another targets the restoration of the main control center of Syria’s power grid in the capital, Damascus. A third agreement reportedly lays the groundwork for Iranian power supply to Aleppo city, which the Syrian military and its allies retook last year.
Mounting talk of reconstruction comes as the Syrian army is said to be making consistent progress in recent months in wresting control of cities and towns from Islamic State (ISIS).
Last week, the Syrian Arab Army staged an offensive to recapture oil-rich areas of the Al-Raqqa governorate that had fallen to ISIS. This area is home to the Jararih oilfield near Salaam ‘Alaykum village, a military report said.
An attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military eliminated ISIS elements from the field in late August. Prior to that, Syria’s army advanced against ISIS forces in the central Homs province, and has encircled terrorists in the al-Hael oilfield near the ancient city of Palmyra.
At the beginning of this year, Iran and Syria signed five memorandums of understanding (MoU), one of them relating to the construction of oil and gas storage facilities and terminals in Syria. Another plan in the discussion phase would see Iran export electricity to Syria, hooking up Iran’s national grid to the national grids of both Iraq and Lebanon.
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The recent spate of agreements is being interpreted as a nod of Iranian support for the Assad-led government and Syrian political initiatives.
These agreements are in line with agreements that were in force or sealed years ago. In May 2013, Iran agreed to provide Syria with a $3.6 billion credit line to imports goods and commodities. Iranian firms are already involved in a series of electricity generation projects.
By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com
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Damir Kaletovic is a veteran investigative journalist covering Europe and the Middle East, and a senior consultant for Divergente Research.