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At the time of writing, all eyes are drawn to the northwestern province of Idlib as perhaps the last major theatre of Syria’s devastating civil war. The Sochi ceasefire agreement, which was sponsored by Turkey and Russia, set the borders of the demilitarised zone around the rebel-held enclave, offering citizens a reprieve from any further military attacks.

Development programmes and reforms in Damascus suggest that steps towards the first phase of rehabilitation are taking place, despite ongoing tensions throughout the country. ‘Marota City’, Syria’s largest investment project, is the first in a number of urban regeneration projects garnering foreign investment interest. Ongoing sanctions imposed by the US and the EU are restricting Western market entry, but regime-friendly countries such as China, Iran and Russia are showing interest. More private sector investment among both local and foreign investors is envisioned as public-private partnerships have been adopted within the framework of governmental policy.

The Damascus Stock Exchange remains active, despite the ongoing war. In fact, a $15m purchase of stocks in the Syria International Islamic Bank resulted in the largest transaction on the market since its launch in 2009.

The National Administrative Reform Programme launched by President Bashar Al-Assad seeks to overhaul the public sector.

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