Iran 'cashes in' on Syria intervention with Aleppo utilities contracts

Iran 'cashes in' on Syria intervention with Aleppo utilities contracts
Iran has secured multi-million dollar contracts for Iranian power companies in war-torn Aleppo, reaping the rewards of its pivotal backing for the Syrian regime in the country's brutal six-year war.
2 min read
13 September, 2017
The merciless Syrian regime bombing of East Aleppo left the city in ruins. [Getty]

Iran has secured multi-million dollar contracts for Iranian power companies in war-torn Aleppo, reaping the rewards of its pivotal backing for Syrian regime President Bashar al-Assad in the country's brutal six-year war.

Syrian regime forces retook the city at the end of last year with the help of Russian air raids and Iranian-backed militia in a merciless bombing campaign after months of a crippling siege.

The aerial bombardments, which targeted hospitals, schools, markets, water stations, and residential buildings, left East Aleppo in ruins.

While the brutal siege of East Aleppo ended eight months ago, municipal authorities only restored the electricity supply to the city last week.

On Tuesday, state news agency SANA reported that the Syrian regime had signed a contract with an Iranian company to import five gas fired power plants to Aleppo.

The contract was awarded to Iranian firm Mabna and is valued at around $155 million, Syria's Electricity Minister Zuhair Kharboutli said.

The deal is part of a wider understanding between Tehran and Damascus promising Iranian companies contracts to restore electrical infrastructure in war-torn Syria.

Electricity networks have been decimated by six years of brutal fighting, with energy outputs dropping by more than half from 2010 to 2014, according to the OECD's International Energy Agency monitoring group.

Most of Aleppo's power plants were located in East Aleppo and were destroyed during the regime campaign to recapture the opposition-held area.

The Syrian regime also signed memorandums with Iranian Energy Minister Sattar Mahmoudi promising to import five power plants to the coastal Latakia province and to restore power plants in Deir ez-Zor and Homs.

Earlier this year, Assad's regime awarded a concession to Iran for the operation of a new cellular network in Syria.

The regime has also signed other concessions to Iran which include thousands of hectares of land for farming and oil and gas terminals, and the operation of a phosphate mine in central Syria.

Iran, Russia, and Hizballah have all backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the war, with Iran sending thousands of Revolutionary Guards and Shia militia fighters to bolster Damascus' decimated armed forces.

Agencies contributed to this report.