SIO head Mustafa al-Kafri confirmed to local daily newspaper Al-Thawra on 25 August that the project was the first to be approved under the 1991 investment law number 10 aimed at encouraging foreign investment in Syria. The law offers various incentives to investors, including tax exemptions for up to 10 years, owning or leasing of land and transferring capital after five years of setting up developments.

Tiger has yet to appoint a consultant, although its engineering arm, Tiger Contracting, is expected to carry out the design and construction of the trade centre. Other developments in the pipeline include a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, high-end luxury residential apartments and office blocks.

Syrian-owned Tiger Groupexpects to finance the development through individual investments coming from Syrian, Arab and international investors. Work will begin on the project once a licence is obtained from the Higher Council for Investment.

Tiger’s leap into Damascus is the latest by a UAE-based developer. Dubai-based Majid al-Futtaim Investments (MAF)is in negotiations with the Syrian government to build an estimated $1,000 million mixed-use development near Damascus.