As the war in Syria winds down, talks are being held to determine which countries will bear the burden of paying for and aiding reconstruction efforts. But in order to determine what is needed in Syria, we must first take a look at how the country has been devastated by this war…
The cost of reconstruction in Syria will be excruciatingly high. But even though a number of countries are responsible for the destruction, they are not nearly as eager to fund the country’s restoration.
The World Bank recently announced that it does not plan to participate in rebuilding Syria.
This comes after the United States announced earlier this year that it was pulling funding from reconstruction efforts in the country. Instead, the U.S. said it would rely on other countries to provide more than $230 million in funds.
But estimates from the United Nations indicate that the cost of rebuilding Syria will be much higher. The total is actually around $388 billion in economic damage. This includes $120 billion in destruction to road, homes, and infrastructure. And $268 billion in lost productivity, which has impacted the country’s GDP.
Nearly half a million Syrians have been killed since the war began. And more than 11 million have been displaced from their homes. The devastating impact this war will have on the country will continue for years to come.
This reality is heartbreaking to many who knew Syria before the war. It was a country known for its history and culture. One former tour guide described it by writing, “Syria’s beautiful heritage sites are a testimony to the different cultures and civilizations that went before us. They include some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sites, which were built and preserved by people and empires over centuries.”
While Damascus and Aleppo were once considered world heritage sites by the United Nations, they have since been reduced to rubble. While the buildings can be rebuilt, it does not change the fact that a wealth of history was lost in this war. The country once relied on agriculture and oil to fuel its economy. But because of the war, many of the fields have either been destroyed or are still not under government control.
When discussing the idea of going to war with Iraq, former Secretary of State Collin Powell claimed that he told President Bush, “Once you break it, you’re going to own it.”
The United States is responsible for destabilizing the region, arming and training so-called rebel groups, and bombing and displacing innocent civilians—all in a quest to illegally overthrow a foreign government. But while there are many ways in which the U.S. can be credited with breaking Syria, it does not appear that it will be nearly as quick to rebuild it.