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Syria’s Assad on his first official visit to Aleppo since the war

#Syrias #Assad #official #visit #Aleppo #war

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad visited the badly damaged northern province of Aleppo on Friday – his first in 11 years of war.

He visited a large rural power station in the east of the province to oversee its partial recovery from war damage.

Assad was also present when a water pumping station was restarted, according to statements by the Syrian Presidency on the Telegram messaging app.

“The governorate of Aleppo has suffered from terrorism and sabotage more than any other governorate. The people of Aleppo have the right to benefit most from these repairs,” Assad said, according to one of the statements.

Aleppo province has been the scene of fierce fighting between government forces, rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State group since 2012, until government forces gradually ousted them.

Assad’s 2016 victory — aided by Russian military might — in the city of Aleppo, the country’s economic hub, was a turning point in the war.

Power grids and other infrastructure across the country have been devastated by the war, which is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions.

The Syrian government does not have authority over the entire province of Aleppo, as areas on Turkey’s border are still controlled by Ankara-backed groups and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.

The recently rehabilitated portion of the power plant, one of the largest in the country, will generate 200 megawatts of electricity for the province, the presidency said.

In 2021, Aleppo’s state-owned electric company announced it would refurbish the power plant with the support of Iran, another Assad ally.

Tehran signed several agreements with Damascus in 2017 to improve power generation and distribution in war-torn Syria.

The deals included the rehabilitation of the Aleppo power plant, the construction of a power plant in Latakia and repair and maintenance work in other regions.

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