The phenomenon has been reported to ANSA by well-placed sources.
Italian affairs in Syria are centred around electricity and the manufacturing industry, but Italy is also well represented in market shares connected to olive oil or marble cutting, while industrial equipment in the oil sector is also important. Syria is the world's 34th largest oil producer, with more than 400,000 barrels per day, half of which are exported.
The resources of the so-called "black gold" are concentrated in the region of Homs, which has been the setting in recent weeks for furious clashes, and in the region of Deir ez-Zor, which has reserves that it is estimated could see Syria enter the list of top 10 oil producers.
Around five kilometres outside the city's built-up areas, Ansaldo is currently building an electric power stations with gas turbines, a partnership with the Greek group Metkal. But with the complete embargo on oil and the partial embargo on electricity, "it has become impossible to operate in Syria," sources say.
"Contracts can be signed, but there is no support from the banks, who effectively no longer want to operate in the country," where credit cards are also blocked and only cash can be used, and where "contracts cannot be made operational". "The problem is not only in Europe," the sources add, "there are also problems in Lebanon and in Gulf states, as banks have taken up a position that is even more inflexible than that demanded by the sanctions".
"There is a risk of reaching a situation such as that in Iran, where no bank is willing to operate". Tehran, meanwhile, "continues to purchase new orders, in the electronic sector, for example, with new plants that are banned by the latest sanctions". The Iranians are therefore "free", purchasing without competition.
Then there are unilateral acts, such as that by the US Treasury, which has decided to penalise some of the private banks operating in Syria, a measure that will "further freeze" the situation.
Overall, at least 50 registered companies were operating in Syria up until 2 years ago, on top of major groups like Ansaldo, Fiat, Benetton, Stefanel and Diadora.
"The Italian government has left us on our own", where as the German government has helped companies that were able to sign new contracts "just in time", before the new sanctions were approved at the end of 2011. (ANSAmed).