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Publish Date : 20 December 2019 - 23:38  ,  
News ID: 6554
TEHRAN(Basirat): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his country is secure for international reconstruction efforts, including to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s modern Silk Road that passes through Iran and Iraq, and is a prospect that will rapidly transform Syria and put it on the path of recovery after nearly a decade of war.
 
Putting Syria on the Path of Recovery
 

According to the Syrian president, there are mutual interests, it is beneficial to Russia, China, Syria and all the countries on this project. 

This was long overdue. Syria is strategically placed at the crossroads of oil and gas pipelines that connect resource fields in the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf and Iran with European markets, and on a wider scale is located on the crossroads between Africa, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

We can identify the strategic position of Syria as a hub for pipelines as early as 2009 when President Assad unveiled a "Four Seas" policy that hoped to create a unified economic bloc between Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran, thereby linking the Mediterranean Sea, Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Persian Gulf into one economic bloc.

The problem is that the establishment of a successful economic nexus among these states threatens the US hegemonic plan for the region, a motivating factor for its backing of anti-government terrorists, including ISIL, when the Syrian war broke out in 2011.

Iran has consistently supported Syria not only in military and security terms, but also diplomatically and economically during this difficult war and now that the reconstruction process is about to begin, it is likely that although several Chinese companies are ready to participate, they are afraid of a possible negative effect of the US sanctions.

However, there is a formula to circumvent US sanctions imposed on Syria, which will allow foreign companies to do business in Syria. Although Syria has already proposed six infrastructural projects to China that could become part of the BRI, Syria is waiting for the Chinese government to determine which projects are in line with their thinking.

Adding Syria into the BRI means that China can now strategically place itself to rejuvenate the "Four Seas" initiative and allow further connection of trade and transportation networks with Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Jordan, while having easier access to the oil rich region, and promote stability and cooperation among these countries. Most of the oil produced in the Middle East is destined for East Asia, effectively meaning China has a strong interest to promote stability in the region.

According to the United Nations, the total restoration of Syria will cost about 260 billion dollars, creating opportunities for Iran, Turkey, Russia and China to engage in reconstruction projects. 

The European Union and the US have economically and militarily challenged Syria and they will not be welcomed in the reconstruction efforts. China however has identified the port of Tripoli in neighboring Lebanon, only 35 kilometers from the Syrian border, as the logistics center for the reconstruction of Syria.
China Harbor Engineering Company has been significantly investing into the port since 2012. This now allows China to connect the Eastern Mediterranean region with the BRI. To connect with the Lebanese port, China plans to build a railway line between Tripoli and the Syrian city of Homs, a corridor that Beijing needs to reduce transportation times and avoid having to transit the Suez Canal. 

China and Syria have also signed cooperation agreements on trade issues and more than 200 Chinese companies participated last summer at the international trade fair in Damascus. In addition, China has granted 2 billion US dollars to invest in Syrian industry and an additional 23 billion dollars through the Cooperation Forum between China and the regional states.

This is in addition to the National Petroleum Corporation of China becoming the shareholder of two of Syria's largest oil companies: the Syrian Oil Company and Al-Furat Petroleum.

The time is now for Syria to formally join the BRI initiative to integrate into the network. Iran has already done so. As the war has entered its final phase, Iranian and Chinese investments and interests will only increase as Syria, an important center on the historic Silk Road, is strategically placed to further connect these countries through the BRI with the region and is also a hub for energy transportation, something of great interest to Iran and China.

Long story short, Syria needs true partners and some 260 billion dollars to rebuild itself. To this end, it will rely on its Iranian, Russian and Chinese allies. Syria effectively needs these allies for recovery just as much as they need Syria to ensure their own security and at the same time facilitate regional and international trade, including energy transport to global markets.
Source:FarsNEWS

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