Queuing in a cage for bread in Damascus, Syria, October 2020
Iran has extended an essential credit line of $1 billion to Syria’s Assad regime after suspending the funds last month.
Bashar al-Assad ratified the measure this week, according to pro-regime media. The conditions for the renewed credit line were not specified.
Under the credit arrangement, Iran has provided billions of dollars in goods and commodities, such as oil, to sustain the regime amid the 116-month Syrian conflict and a 75% drop in the country’s GDP.
It is unclear why the line of credit was held up in November, but Iran is also facing economic crisis amid long-term internal problems and the Trump Administration’s comprehensive sanctions.
First Foreign Oil in 6 Months
The credit renewal came as the Assasd regime received its first foreign oil supplies in six months.
Two tanker shipments, one from Iran and one from an unnamed businessman, arrived last week.
The regime has struggled to fill tenders for imports, including for essentials such as sugar, rice, and wheat.
The regime’s 2021 budget is a 27% contraction, in inflation-adjusted terms, from this year and is the smallest budget since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.
The budget has declined per capita by 70% since 2010. Revenue is down 83%, amid a 90% drop in oil production in regime-held areas.
Most of Syria’s oilfields are in the northeast, in territory controlled by a Kurdish administration and guarded by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.