An Iranian firm has signed a contract with the Syrian government to build five 25MW gas-fired power plants in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, in a sign that the Islamic Republic will have a major role to play in the reconstruction of Syria.

The contract worth $155.6m was awarded to Mapna, according to the Syrian state news agency Sana as part of an agreement between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his ally Tehran to involve Iranian companies in the rebuilding of basic infrastructure in Syria.

Memorandums of understanding have also been signed between electricity ministries of both countries to build five plants with a combined capacity of 540MW as well as wind and solar power plants in the northern coastal province of Latakia. The agreements include projects to restore power plants in Deir el-Zor and Homs.

Iran has supported the Syrian government by sending its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to fight alongside regime forces to crush the uprising against Al-Assad, which began in 2011. The IRGC launched a missile offensive against militant groups in the eastern province of Deir el-Zor in June.

Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, was retaken by government forces with aid of Russian air strikes and Iranian military support at the end of 2016. Vital infrastructure and utilities remained cut off across the city and the government has been working to restore power to war-damaged neighbourhoods.

Iranian firms have been offered various concessions by the Syrian state, such as the award of a mobile network in January, thousands of hectares of land for farming and oil and gas terminals as well as a contract to operate a phosphate mine.