Damages in the hundreds of billions: what turned the war for the Syrian economy

How many have lost Syria

Syria before the military conflict started in 2011 was close to having to move from the category of countries with income below average in the category of countries with income levels above average, said Abdullah al-Dardari, senior Advisor at the world Bank on reconstruction and modernization in the Middle East and North Africa, at the conference “the middle East: when tomorrow comes?”, organized by the International discussion club “Valdai”.

In accordance with the developed prior to the conflict in the country road map “Syria 2025”, the achievement of the targets was possible in the three five-year plans. “According to my own estimates, the failure of these plans is one of the largest losses for Syria, which was a real opportunity to make a significant qualitative leap in the history of economic development of the country” — said al-Dardari, who held the post of Deputy Prime Minister of Syria from 2005 to 2011.

According to him, to make up for this loss in the near future for all economic estimates is not feasible, it will take 50 to 60 years of continuous operation under the condition that the growth rate of the economy will be two times higher than the pre-war period. “Today, the GDP of Syria does not exceed $24 billion economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) calculated one possible scenario of economic recovery: to return the GDP to at least indicators of the pre-war period ($60.2 billion), the necessary investments in an amount not less than $200 billion it will take at least ten years, but this is assuming that the war ends now,” says al-Dardari.

In accordance with ESCWA study published in 2016, the total economic loss to Syria in the period from 2011 to 2015 are estimated at $259,6 billion, of which about $169,7 billion in missed GDP growth (the difference between actual and expected growth), another $89,9 billion — loss of fixed capital. In these five years, real GDP decreased by 55% from $60.2 billion to $27.2 billion (in 2010 prices). Engulfed the entire country fighting, international sanctions and the fall in economic activity across Syria has affected all sectors of the economy, particularly the agro-commodities industry, including food manufacturing and the oil industry.

Problems recovery

After the war Syria will have to deal with deeply rooted socio-economic challenges: rising poverty, high unemployment, destroyed education and health infrastructure, as well as the outflow of highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurs abroad, said the report by the International monetary Fund, published last year. According to the IMF, Syria population for different reasons decreased by 2015, 20-30%. Of those who remained in the country, more than half have been displaced inside the country.

The devastating effects of prolonged military conflict in Syria threatens to leave a generation of children without education. If the pre-war time for 95% of the population education was available by the end of 2015 this figure fell to less than 75% due to the lack of teachers and dilapidated infrastructure. According to the Ministry of education of Syria, 5800 schools (26% of the total) ceased to function in 2015. Suffered heavily in the health sector: almost one third of hospitals in the country were destroyed by 2015, 11% partially damaged, the report said ESCWA.

Al-Dardari draws attention to the fact that international negotiations on Syria is the issue of economic recovery of the country almost no attention. In the Geneva negotiations at the moment is working in three directions: discussion of the future Constitution of the transitional government and the holding of elections; to discuss economic issues will be possible only after progress on them, he says. However, reaching agreements on post-conflict reconstruction and development of the country can be even more difficult than achieving political agreements, says al-Dardari.

“The problem in the first place is the lack of stability. Despite the fact that is now a ceasefire, the political process is still very fragile, and it is difficult to say how it will be sustainable. In the face of such risks, nobody will invest in the economy”, — agrees Irina Zvyagelskaya. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Damascus in the reconstruction of Syria will draw in Russia, China, Iran, as these countries support the country.

The Return Of Palmyra

March 2, Syrian troops with the support of the Russian space forces liberated from the militants of banned terrorist group “Islamic state” Palmyra, said defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yesterday it was reported that the Syrian army has occupied the historic part of Palmyra, after which the fighting was on the outskirts of the city.

In March last year, the Syrians with the support of the Russian space forces had already liberated the city captured by ISIS in 2015. On the occasion of the liberation in early may of last year, the Symphony orchestra of the Mariinsky theatre under Valery Gergiev gave a concert in the ancient amphitheatre of Palmyra. After the concert Gergiev and cellist Sergei Roldugin was awarded the order of Alexander Nevsky for “special merits in the preparation and carrying out important humanitarian foreign policy actions that promote peace and friendship between peoples.” However, in December of last year, ISIS fighters recaptured the town.

During the first occupation of Palmyra militants blew up a triumphal arch with a colonnade, the temple Balsamina II century and the sanctuary of the Supreme Semitic deity Bel. Was looted national Museum and the necropolis of Palmyra, destroyed the famous statue of the lion of Athens — a unique work of art with height more than 3 m, the statue was considered the image of the patron Saint of the ancient city and its inhabitants. Second, the occupation has brought new destruction. In February, the defense Ministry of Russia has published video evidence of the destruction by militants of the facade of the Roman amphitheatre and tetrapylon — the main attractions of the ancient city. According to military, terrorists blew up procenium — Central part of the ancient Roman theatre and the columns of tetrapylon (rectangular building, built in the 270-year).