Syria is seeking to buy MC-21 passenger jets from Russia and re-open border with Iraq, Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud told Sputnik in an interview with the Russian news agency Sputnik.
“During the last visit of Iraqi Foreign Minister [Ibrahim Jaafari] to Syria, one of the main topics discussed was opening the border. The Iraqi side promised that it would be done soon. We are ready as soon as logistics issues are solved on the Iraqi side,” Hammoud said.
Most of the heckpoints on the Syrian-Iraqi border have been closed since 2014 because this area was sized by ISIS terrorists. Now, when ISIS’ self-proclaimed Caliphate is defeated, Damascus and Baghdad have started discussions on the possible re-opening of the border.
The transport minister also stated that he would like if PJSC Aeroflot – Russian Airlines becomes the first foreign company to resume air services to Syria.
“We believe that the reasons for which this company stopped flights [to Syria] became history. We invite Aeroflot to return to Syria and become the first international company to resume its work here,” Sputnik quoted the minister as saying.
He added that Syria would like to become a first buyer of Russian-made MC-21 passenger jets and Damascus has already requested “the friendly Russian side” on this issue.
According to the interview, the Ministry of Transport is considering the possibility of expanding the Damascus airport or building a new one in cooperation with Russia.
“We are cooperating with the Russian side on the issue of expanding the Damascus International Airport or building a new one to replace the current one,” Hammoud stated adding that the different optinos would be evaluated.
The minister further added that Syria will become a largest hub on Russian wheat exports.
“We have reached an agreement with the Russian government on establishing in Syria a center for the exports of Russian wheat to other countries in the region. In this connection, it will be necessary to expand ports in Syria and create granaries in the port area to store large volumes of Russian wheat,” the minister said. “That is why we will need a railway and roads, which will be built as part of this large-scale project.”