Skip to main content

China's Belt & Road Initiative can help Syria rebuild after the war

Updated 2020.11.13 14:51 GMT+8

Syrian children play at a refugee camp near the Baalbek City, Lebanon, December 10, 2018. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Syria held a two-day international conference on the return of refugees from 11-12 November. Syrian President Assad condemned some countries for exploiting the presence of its citizens on their territory for financial and strategic ends. He also criticized the illegal sanctions that some of those same countries have imposed on his people. The Syrian leader strongly encouraged all of his citizens to return home and help their country rebuild, to which end China's Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) could potentially play a leading role.

The Arab Republic pursued what it described as its "Five Seas Strategy" prior to the onset of its externally instigated war in 2011. This vision refers to Syria's desire to position itself as the key node for connecting the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea regions. 

It was expected that the country would maximize its geostrategic location to help integrate the tri-continental pivot space of West Asia, which would in turn greatly facilitate the emerging multipolar world order.

Those dreams were regrettably dashed by the hybrid war of terror that's been waged upon it for nearly a decade already, though they thankfully never ended up dying since the country's democratically elected and legitimate government has thus far remained in office. 

This opens up the possibility of reviving the "Five Seas Strategy" with China's and a few of Damascus' other partners' support. In connection with this, it should be pointed out that the refugee conference was also attended by Pakistan, Russia, Iran, and Iraq.

These six countries – China, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia – have the chance to cooperate real closely synergizing the strategic economic potential of Damascus' "Five Seas Strategy" and Beijing's BRI to accelerate the reconstruction of the war-torn Arab Republic provided that there's the will on all sides to this end. 

To explain, BRI's flagship project is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the terminal port of which is Gwadar on the Arabian Sea in close proximity to the Iranian border.

China and Iran are reportedly negotiating a massive economic deal, and the nearby Iranian port of Chabahar that at one time envisioned becoming India's entry point to the presently stalled North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) could potentially partner with CPEC's Gwadar in such a scenario. 

The convergence of CPEC and the NSTC, coupled with future Chinese investments into Iranian transport infrastructure, could in theory extend CPEC's reach all the way to the Iranian-Iraqi border through the de-facto western branch corridor of W-CPEC+.

People wait for aid after an earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab city, Iran, November 14, 2017. /Xinhua

Iraq is already a close Chinese partner, as is Syria, so the credible possibility emerges of W-CPEC+ transiting through those countries all the way to the Russian-controlled Syrian port of Tartus. 

The end effect would be that a trans-Eurasian corridor might eventually be created connecting Syria's Eastern Mediterranean coast with China's Pacific Ocean one. This new Silk Road route would stimulate West Asian integration processes and help both Iraq and Syria recover from their wars.

Iran, Iraq, and Syria already enjoy allied relations, Russia is another one of Syria's wartime allies, while China is Damascus' key investment and diplomatic partner whereas Pakistan is an historical one whose relations with Syria recently improved after Islamabad sent massive medical aid to the Arab Republic at the beginning of this month. 

The possibility therefore exists for all six countries to pool their potential in pursuit of actualizing this ambitious vision with the intent of reconstructing Syria as soon as possible to facilitate the return of refugees.

Complex problems such as the Syrian conflict and its resultant refugee crisis require multilateralism and creative solutions to resolve. 

It's with this in mind that the proposal is being put forth for all stakeholders to consider the possibility of W-CPEC+ serving as the means through which to achieve this. 

Not only would it be in all of these states' best interests, but also in their people's as well with time. The synergy between Syria's revived "Five Seas Strategy" and China's BRI would do wonders for West Asia's future economic development.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at


Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed. Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area” For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number” Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell yo

RWR Advisory: Belt and Road at a Glance

This edition covers developments from March 12 - March 26..  Belt and Road at a Glance   Subscribe to the Belt and Road Monitor Top Developments China National Machinery Industry Corporation, commonly known as Sinomach, has agreed to  build  a $845 million, 255-mile railway across  Iran , building upon a sustained period of growth for Chinese investment in Iran that accelerated after Xi Jinping’s state visit to the country in January 2016. The railway will link the cities of Tehran, Hamedan and Sanandaj. China Civil Engineering Construction, a subsidiary of CRCC, is currently also  building  a 263-km railway line from Kermanshah to Khosravi. According to Chinese entrepreneur Lin Zuoru, who  owns  factories in Iran, “Iran is at the center of everything.”On March 23, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that foreign direct investment by Chinese companies in 50 Belt and Road countries fell by 30.9% year-on-year. While the Ministry stated that this number covers investment across al

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میں Please help the deserving persons... Salary: Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows; Welder: Rs. 1,700 daily Heavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 daily Mason: Rs. 1,500 daily Helper: Rs. 850 daily Electrician: Rs. 1,700 daily Surveyor: Rs. 2,500 daily Security Guard: Rs. 1,600 daily Bulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Concrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 daily Roller operator: Rs. 2,000 daily Steel fixer: Rs. 2,200 daily Iron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 daily Account clerk: Rs. 2,200 daily Carpenter: Rs. 1,700 daily Light duty driver: Rs. 1,700 daily Labour: Rs. 900 daily Para Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 daily Pipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 daily Storekeeper: Rs. 1,700 daily Office boy: Rs. 1,200 daily Excavator operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Shovel operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Computer operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Security Supervisor: Rs.