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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Syria’s Assad makes rare visit to country’s north: state media

State media reported that President Bashar al-Assad made the rare visit on Friday to inaugurate a power station in the northern province of Aleppo, which was once held by opposition forces and suffered extensive damage during the war.

Government-held parts of Syria suffer power cuts for more than 12 hours a day as production falls far short of the country’s needs. During the 11-year conflict, much destruction took place in Syria’s infrastructure.

Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said Assad visited the power station in the eastern part of Aleppo province, adding that that part of the station is now ready and can generate up to 200 megawatts. The report said that work is on to repair other parts of the station as well.

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Friday’s inauguration marks the sixth anniversary of the withdrawal of the station from militants by Syrian troops, the report said.

Syrian government forces now control much of the country thanks to allies Russia and Iran, which have helped keep the balance of power in Assad’s favor. The civil war that began in 2011 has killed hundreds of thousands, displaced half of the country’s population and devastated large parts of Syria.

Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnas recently told parliament that the country’s need is around 7,000 megawatts, but the stations only produce a little over 2,500 megawatts.

Arnas said one of the main reasons for the power shortage is that Syria’s natural gas production declined sharply during the conflict because some of the country’s largest oil and gas fields are held by US-backed Syrian Kurdish-led fighters.

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In November, Syria signed a contract with a group of UAE companies to build a solar power station in a Damascus suburb. The station will generate 300 MW at maximum rates.

A month ago, the Syrian Ministry of Electricity signed a $115 million contract with an Iranian company to rebuild another power station in central Syria.

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