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Iran sending tonnes of flour daily to Syria: report

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Iran is exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily by sea and land to Syria, which has been ravaged by a deadly civil war for nearly two years, an official was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Sunday.

"The Iranians have recently increased their deliveries," Abu Zaid Katibi, director of state-owned Syrian flour mills, told Al-Watan newspaper, noting that Tehran was transporting 500 to 800 tonnes daily to its ally Damascus.

Iran has offered steadfast support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which has been battling an armed uprising since mid-March 2011.

He said Syria had also entered into a contract to buy 100,000 tonnes of flour from Ukraine in 2013, and had deals with other foreign companies which he did not name.

Katibi expressed concern about the difficulties faced in transporting flour inside Syria given the "security conditions and closure of some flour mills."

Syria's agricultural output has halved because of the conflict, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Wednesday as it urged emergency help for the sector on which nearly eight million people depend.

The FAO said that production of wheat and barley has dropped to less than two million tonnes from 4 to 4.5 million tonnes before the conflict began.