According to state media, President Bashar Assad paid a rare visit to the northern province of Aleppo on Friday to tour the nation’s largest city and open a power plant that was once controlled by militants and sustained extensive damage during the war.
Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and was formerly the country’s commercial hub. This was President Assad and his family’s first trip there since government forces took control of the city’s rebel-held eastern areas in December 2016 following a protracted conflict.
Assad, his wife Asma, their two boys, and a daughter can be seen in photos released by the president’s office strolling around the old covered market in Aleppo, one of the city’s attractions that was extensively damaged during the battle. Currently, portions of the market are renovated.
Commonly visited by Assad was the centuries-old Ummayad Mosque, also known as The Great Mosque of Aleppo, which has been undergoing renovations for some time.
Assad’s biggest achievement in the battle at the time was the takeover of eastern Aleppo in 2016, which had been held by rebels for four years.
According to his office and the official news agency, SANA, Assad visited a power plant in the eastern region of the province of Aleppo before touring the city.
As a result of output being much lower than the country’s needs, government-held areas of Syria now experience power outages lasting longer than 12 hours each day. Throughout the 11-year battle, Syria’s infrastructure suffered significant damage.
A portion of the Aleppo power plant that has been repaired and is prepared to generate up to 200 megawatts was inaugurated by Assad, according to SANA. According to the report, repairs were being made to the station’s other components as well.
The article stated that Friday’s opening coincides with the anniversary of Syrian army liberating the station from militants six years prior.
As a result of support from allies, Russia and Iran, who helped tip the scales of power in Assad’s favor, the Syrian government forces currently dominate a large portion of the nation. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, half the population has been displaced, and major portions of Syria have been destroyed as a result of the civil war that started in 2011.
According to Syria’s Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, the country needs roughly 7,000 megawatts but only generates a little more than 2,500 megawatts from its stations.
The fact that some of the greatest oil and gas fields in the country are held by Syrian Kurdish-led fighters with US support is a major factor in the country’s electrical problems, according to Arnous.
Syria and a consortium of UAE-based businesses signed a contract in November to develop a solar power plant in a Damascus suburb. At peak output, the station will generate 300 megawatts.
Syria’s electricity ministry had agreed to spend $115 million with an Iranian firm to construct a different power plant in the country’s center region a month earlier.