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Iran Agrees To Build 200,000 Homes In Syria

Syrians ride a motorcycle amid the destruction in a rebel-held neighborhood in Daraa, April 12, 2017

Iran is to build 200,000 residential units in Syria based on a memorandum of understanding signed at a joint economic meeting in Damascus in late January, ISNA reported, quoting an official of Iran's Mass Housing Association.

However, the official, Iraj Rahbar, who said the houses will be built in several townships in Damascus, did not explain whether this is a private sector project or a government undertaking, or who will pay for it.

If Iranian government money is to be spent for homes in Syria, it might lead to popular anger in Iran, where a deteriorating economy and runaway inflation have pushed millions of people into poverty.

Iranian officials have said recently that Iran needs one million more houses every year, but the government and housing companies are capable of building less than one third of that.

Meanwhile the biggest housing project in Iran, the Mehr Project, has caused a lot of dissatisfaction among house buyers as whole townships built by Mehr collapsed during a 5 Richter strong earthquake in Western Iran in 2017.

Hundreds of thousands of houses have been ruined in the course of the civil war in Syria since 2011.

Iranian officials have expressed concern recently about the fact that Iran might benefit less than other countries including Russia from Syrian reconstruction, although it has spent billions of dollars to help the government of President Bashar al-Assad.