Qatar National Bank (QNB) said on Monday it agreed with partners to set up a bank in Syria, the latest Gulf lender interested in entering the country since it opened its banking market to foreigners three years ago.

QNB, which in July entered Jordan by taking control of the Qatari government's stake in the Housing Bank for Trade & Finance, agreed with Syria's General Institution of Social Insurance, Savings Bank and other partners to set up the lender, it said in a statement.

State-controlled QNB said last month it won initial approval to create the lender, including a plan to sell a stake in an initial public offering. That stake will be 32.5 percent, QNB said on Monday. Syria has no stock market.

QNB will manage the lender, it said, without giving further details.

Gulf Arab interest in entering the Syrian banking market is growing, attracted by the country's expanding economy and the fact that banking was closed to foreigners for more than 35 years.

Lebanon's BLOM Bank was the first foreign lender to help open a lender in Syria in 2004, according to its Web site.