27 March, 2016
Iran's government wants its builders to buy up property in Shi-ite majority neighborhoods of Syria's capital, Damascus.
It is also asking construction workers to go to Syria.
This information comes from construction industry officials in Tehran and Iranian experts.
Iranian analyst Fariborz Saremi said owning real estate gives Iran more control over Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
Rich and conservative Iranian business people with ties to the government are buying expensive homes in Damascus, according to news reports. This is influencing price increases in Syria's real estate markets.
"Five million houses have been destroyed in the civil war," said Syrian economist Khorshid Alika told Voice of America. "The increased Iranian demand to buy land and properties has naturally led to more inflation in the market."
Iran's interest in Syrian real estate is not new. But it increased after the rebel uprising began in 2011.
Government-run media have been reporting recently about how Iran joined Russia to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad's government has been fighting against rebels and the Islamic State terror group.
Iran is not only asking people to buy homes and property in Syria. The country is also asking construction workers and contractors to take jobs there.
One contractor said a fellow contractor with close ties to the Iranian government told him he had a chance to make money in Damascus.
"When we asked about the security, he said that the zone is even more secure than Tehran," Iranian contractor Amir Maghsoudloo told VOA.
Iran is home to about 3 million people from Afghanistan. Many fled the war-torn country. Most earn low wages in Iran. They are being offered better paying construction jobs in Syria.
Some Damascus construction projects are run by Afghan nationals from Iran, said Tahi Esmali. He is an Afghan national who works as a bricklayer. He had worked in Iran before moving to Syria in 2015.
Iranian interests are not limited to Damascus. Iranian business people and companies are looking to invest in projects in the central Syrian city of Homs. The Syrian military and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies recaptured Homs in late 2015.
The Iranian government has supported Syrian President Assad. Recent reports in state-run media say that Iran increased the size of its Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria.
I'm Mario Ritter.
Sirwan Kajjo reported on this story for VOANews. Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
construction – adj. the act or process of building something
analyst – n. a person who studies or analyzes something
real estate – n. property consisting of buildings and land
contractor – n. a person who is hired to perform work or to provide goods at a certain price or within a certain time
nationals – n. of or relating to people from a country