18:10 GMT18 January 2021
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Damascus wants to turn Syria into a transit country for energy resources supplied to European consumers from Asia, Syrian Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Ghanem told Sputnik.

    "We are planning to use at maximum the strategic location of Syria, connecting oil and gas producers in Asia with European consumers. Since the Middle East possesses 40 percent of world's gas reserves and Europe depends on gas imports… we encourage neighboring countries and world companies to build routes for transportation of energy resources via Syria. It will positively affect country's economy on the whole and improve the supply of energy within Syria," Ghanem said.

    READ MORE: Putin Led Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, Political Resolution — Russian MP

    The minister noted that the work on projects related to gas and oil transportation suspended over civil war would be resumed. One of such projects is the gas pipeline from Iran and Iraq via Syria to Europe capable of transporting 110 million cubic meters of gas (3.8 billion cubic feet).

    Since March 2011, an armed conflict has been ongoing in Syria. It has claimed more than 200,000 lives.

    The operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria began on September 30, 2015, after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had asked Russia for military assistance. On December 11, 2017, Putin, speaking to the military at the airbase Hmeymim, announced its completion.

    Memorandum on Phosphate, Basalt Ores Development

    "A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Russian party on the development of phosphate, shale and basalt ores and on the reconstruction of a salt mine in Deir ez-Zor after the liberation as well as on the resumption of valuable resources studies, creation of a research center for geological surveys archiving and creation of a semi-industrial technological chemical laboratory," Ghanem said.

    Syria with Russia's help has begun the reconstruction of the liberated city of Deir ez-Zor, which is rich in deposits of oil and gas. The work on the reassessment of the results of the previous valuable resources studies has also been launched.

    In early October, a meeting of the Russian-Syrian joint governmental commission was held, in course of which cooperation issues, including in the energy field, have been discussed. The two countries have also signed agreements and memorandums of cooperation on the development of trade and economic bilateral relations.


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