The government of the Syrian regime, after it controlled the areas around the capital Damascus last year, betook itself to kick-start the economy through industrial facilities to support the treasury following the severe deterioration of the Syrian economy.
The government paid a large attention to the large industrial cities that have been established in 2004, the most important of which are the Sheikh Najjar industrial city in Aleppo and Adra industrial city in rural Damascus.
The industrial city in Adra is a prominent industrial center, for it is the largest industrial city in Syria with about 3-thousand-hectare area. Since the establishment of the city, the government sought to expand and operate it, as well as attract investors offering them various privileges. It opened the doors of investment, helped capital owners start new investments in the area without administrative complexities or onerous conditions; it also sold areas and lands for companies’ owners.
A Wide-Open Door to Investments
After securing the industrial city, the government of the Syrian regime started to offer facilities to investors and factory owners, according to the Head of the Economic Department in the Free Aleppo University, Essam Younis, who confirmed to Enab Baladi that the factory owners who moved their factories from the area to safer ones, due to battles and fearing destruction, were welcomed by the regime and received facilities to return to their factories, especially in Tall Kurdi area.
As for factory owners who moved their investments to neighboring countries, Turkey or Jordan, the regime enlisted their possessions on new investors’ lists according to contracts without specific durations, that might vary between five to ten years, according to Younis, who assured that this step is meant to activate the largest portion of the industrial area.
In the areas close to Tall Kurdi, the owners of factories, which have been largely damaged and parts of which has been moved to areas under opposition factions, proved their ownership of these facilities by obtaining documents from the Chamber of Commerce in Damascus and transferred 437 factories to the industrial area according to the Administration of the Industrial City late in 2013.
The Director of the Industrial Cities and Areas, Akram Hassan, according to “al-Thawra” governmental newspaper, last June, announced that the annual revenues of Industrial Adra, in 2016, reached 2801 million Syrian pounds, the accumulative revenues reached 17.982 million Syrian pounds, the amount of investments reached 2702.79 billion Syrian pounds according to the current exchange rates (530 Syrian ponds last year) while the total number of the constructed factories was 2508 and the total accumulative number of functioning factories was 1298. In addition to this, the industrial city came up with 59678 job opportunities.
The regime also began to invest in agricultural areas; it planted the lands it controlled in the areas of Maydaa and Maydaani near the al-Otaibah village and other areas in the east of Ghouta, in addition to areas in the southern sector that occupy eight thousand hectares of agricultural lands.
The Ministry of Electricity in the government of the regime also made an agreement with Syrian investors, last May, to establish a solar power plant, the capacity of which is 50 MW in the city, which may contribute to the development of the electricity sector.
Syria Exports Electricity Generators to Russia
The city’s investments have not benefited the Syrian regime only, for Russia’s military air base (Hameimim) has been also supplied with electricity generators manufactured by a modern industrial facility in the city of Adra. The facility also supplied Russia with 30% of its production, according to the Russian Agency “Novosti,” which quoted the facility’s Director, Faris faris, Last December, as saying: “We currently produce diesel and gas generators with a capacity of three to five thousand kilowatts.”
The Director told the Agency: “The project has a strategic dimension, for the generators were sent to the Syrian army, which began to transfer products to consumers. The plant is fully productive and has a staff of 250 workers on three shifts a day”.
Industrial Cities in Syria
In order to improve the Syrian industry, a decree was issued in 2004, which contributed to the activation and development of the study, implementation and investment of industrial cities and led to the formation of a council for each industrial city that started to have broad powers.
Despite the criticism of the decree, which was explicitly trying to empty the cities of industrial facilities and limiting owners of factors to the industrial areas, it was applied, and at a time when the decree cost many people their work advantages; it secured opportunities for many others.
According to the decree four industrial cities have been established:
The Industrial City in Adra in Rural Damascus
The industrial city is located in Adra in rural Damascus, 35 Km away from the capital. It is divided into two parts; the first is three thousand hectares and allocated for the residential, commercial and administrative area and the second is allocated for industrial facilities and has the same area of the first part.
It includes six thousand industrial facilities of various types of industries: textile, engineering, food, building materials, tanning, artisanal and metal casting at a total estimated cost of 30 billion Syrian pounds, according to the Syrian Investment Authority.
The Industrial City in Hisyah
The industrial city is located in Homs governorate at the Homs-Damascus international highway in the town of Hisyah. According to this, the city has an important geographical location; the city’s area is about 2500 hectares and includes engineering, textile, chemical and food industries.
The city’s investments have reached 118 billion Syrian pounds since the city was founded in 2004 until the end of 2017, according to the city’s General Manager Bassam al-Mansour.
The Industrial City in Sheikh Najjar
The industrial city of Sheikh Najjar is located in the north-eastern part of Aleppo and covers an area of 4500 hectares distributed over three industrial zones. It includes food, textile, engineering, chemical and software industries. According to government sources, the annual revenues achieved before the revolution are 1138 billion Syrian pounds. In this city, there are 1552 Under construction factories, 614 functioning factories, and 38,800 workers.
The city was heavily destroyed as a result of the military operations between the two sides of the conflict in Aleppo to return to the city in 2017 according to “al-Thawra” newspaper which quoted, Hazem Ajan, the city’s governor, in Lat January, who said that the investment rate reached 500% in 2017, and the production capacity of the city increased by 75%, along with the investment volume that reached ten billion Syrian pounds last year.
The Industrial City in Deir ez-Zor
It is located northeast of Deir ez-Zor and is about 15 km away from the city center on the al-Hasaka road. The total area of the city is 2,850 ha, at a total cost of 7.5 billion Syrian pounds.
The “Islamic State” (IS) controlled the city in 2015, before being controlled by the “Syrian Democratic Forces,” last September.