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Syria-Iran deal to counter 'economic war' from West: Assad


AFP Damascus
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Tuesday hailed an economic deal with key ally Iran as a bulwark against what he described as an "economic war" waged by the West.
Assad spoke the day after the allies signed a string of agreements including a long-term "economic cooperation" deal ahead of reconstruction in the war-torn country.
"These deals... will help consolidate Syrian and Iranian resilience against the economic war waged against them by some Western states," the presidency quoted him as saying.
Assad called for "intensifying common efforts to stave off these countries that keep trying to weaken both countries", it said.
The United States has reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, while it and the European Union have also blacklisted several Damascus officials and Syrian businessmen.
The 11 deals and memoranda of understanding signed on Monday covered fields including the economy, culture, education, infrastructure, investment and housing.
They were signed during the visit of Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri to the Syrian capital.
Iran and Syria had already signed a military cooperation agreement in August while Tehran has supported Damascus economically during the conflict through oil deliveries and several lines of credit.
With help from allies including Iran and Russia, the regime has gained ground against rebels and jihadists since 2015 and controls nearly two-thirds of the country.
The civil war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
It has also taken an enormous toll on the Syrian economy and infrastructure, with the United Nations estimating the cost of war-related destruction at about USD 400 billion.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 8:35 PM IST

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