Iran will build a mobile phone network in Syria under an agreement signed by the two countries’ ministries of information and communications technology, Iranian media reports. According to Fars News Agency, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Tehran and Damascus are working to further expand trade and economic ties.
The deal was signed during a visit to Tehran by a high-level Syrian delegation led by Prime Minister Imad Khamis this week. Other reports say the two countries also signed four other major deals that include mining and agricultural projects.
The Syrian government is heavily indebted to Tehran for its military support over the past five years, as the IRGC and its mercenaries have played a significant role in shifting the tide of war in favor of the Bashar al-Assad regime. With the fall of Aleppo, the opposition’s last major urban stronghold, the IRGC is now trying to dominate Syria’s economic sector and expand its soft power influence in the country as well. Moreover, the IRGC already controls Iran’s telecommunications sector, and building Syria’s mobile network will also provide the IRGC and its secretive Quds Force with a valuable intelligence and surveillance tool.