Array

  • The cost of war in Syria , On: Sun, 16 Jul 2017

  • The Trump-Putin summit, On: Sun, 09 Jul 2017

  • Fighting terrorism after Mosul and Raqqa, On: Sun, 02 Jul 2017

  • A smooth transition in Saudi Arabia, On: Sun, 25 Jun 2017

  • Dealing with the Gulf crisis , On: Sun, 18 Jun 2017

  • The crisis over Qatar’s policies , On: Sun, 11 Jun 2017

  • The 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, On: Sun, 04 Jun 2017

  • Terrorists wage a war on life, everywhere , On: Sun, 28 May 2017

  • Could the Riyadh summit be a turning point?, On: Sun, 21 May 2017

  • Addressing the root causes of illegal migration is key, On: Sun, 14 May 2017

  • Arab youth surveys are useful, On: Sun, 07 May 2017

  • European vote matters to the Arab world, On: Sun, 30 Apr 2017

  • Populists in the West are building costly , On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

  • Dealing with Arab diaspora communities , On: Sun, 16 Apr 2017

  • Endless civilian tragedies in Syria and Iraq , On: Sun, 09 Apr 2017

  • The results of the Amman summit , On: Sun, 02 Apr 2017

  • Tackling the roots of radicalisation , On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Lessons of the Dutch vote , On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Tough days for Arab women facing war and displacement , On: Sun, 12 Mar 2017

  • ISIS a failed idea and a failing project , On: Sun, 05 Mar 2017

  • Killing the Palestinians’ hopes for statehood , On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • The migration issue after Malta , On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • The Trump administration’s early record , On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • Israeli settlement policies could endanger regional and global peace , On: Sun, 29 Jan 2017

  • The messages of Davos , On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • Predicting MENA’s future, On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Welcoming 2017 , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • The Cairo bombing , On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • The wages of war , On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • The continuing flow of migrants across the Mediterranean, On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • Risks of social media abuse in MENA region , On: Sun, 27 Nov 2016

  • Arab youth should be a source of hope, not concern, On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • After the election of Donald Trump , On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Many hopes are pinned on Marrakech climate conference , On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Stability in the Maghreb, On: Sun, 30 Oct 2016

  • Syria’s bloody story , On: Sun, 23 Oct 2016

  • Stopping the tragedy of child brides, On: Sun, 16 Oct 2016

  • Welcoming the new UN chief , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • The cost of war in Syria


    2017/07/16 Issue: 115 Page: 6



    There could have been no better reminder of the urgency of the Syria peace talks in Geneva than the World Bank’s sober assessment of the toll of war. The report was released the very day that the UN envoy to Syria opened the seventh round of indi­rect talks between Syrian government representa­tives and opposition leaders to try to wind down the 6-year civil war.

    For all the entrenched disagreements between the two sides, there can be no dispute over the great and terrible cost of bloody conflict — to the Syrian state, its people and to the diminishing prospects for future generations. As the World Bank put it: “Conflicts destroy tangible and intangible assets and leave deep marks on a country’s social fabric, culture and collective memories.”

    The numbers offered by the report are stark enough and they do not even pretend to tell the whole story. Overall, the World Bank estimates that Syria’s gross domestic product suffered a cumulative loss of $226 billion from 2011-16. That means every year war has ravaged the country, the average decline in the value of goods and services was $50 billion. Syria’s housing stock — the total number of houses and flats available — stands depleted with 7% destroyed and 20% damaged.

    These losses are especially severe in Deir ez-Zor, Palmyra and Aleppo but Homs, Damascus and many other cities and towns, too, have suffered the loss of roads, bridges, water resources, grain silos and other economically significant assets. Half the medical facilities and more than half the schools and colleges across the eight governorates covered by the report were damaged. And 16% of hospitals and 10% of schools have been destroyed. Syria’s once-thriving and lucra­tive hydrocarbons sector has also been hit hard. Oil GDP declined 93% from 2011.

    This is a tragic snapshot of the consequences of a prolonged conflict, which is not yet over. Syria has become the theatre of a tangled conflict in which many foreign forces, not least Iran, have disparate and dangerous roles. And Bashar Assad’s regime is not projecting a credible vision of the future.

    It can only be hoped that good sense and goodwill triumph as the world contemplates the immense task of helping to rebuild a Syria shattered by war. The damage goes much beyond the World Bank’s estimates. There is the lost opportu­nity for millions of Syrians — the chance to get an education or a job, raise a family and strengthen community and country. There are the hundreds of thousands forcibly displaced. They have lost homes and opportunities to build their future. What about the psychological cost of trauma on the children who lived through this war?

    No one can ever total up those cumulative costs but it is fair to say that, for millions of Syrians, there is no turning back the clock. They cannot recover the future they never had.

    Syrians must be given a chance to rebuild their country and they need the world’s steadfast help.

    Editors' Picks

    The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

    From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

    Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Dalal Saoud

    Senior Editor: John Hendel

    Chief Copy Editors: Jonathan Hemming and Richard Pretorius

    Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

    Opinion Section Editor: Claude Salhani

    East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

    Levant Section Editor: Jamal J. Halaby

    Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

    Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

    Senior Correspondents:

    Mahmud el-Shafey (London)

    Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

    Correspondents

    Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

    Dunia El-Zobeidi (London)

    Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

    Rasha Elass - Thomas Seibert (Washington)

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Contact editor at:editor@thearabweekly.com

    Subscription & Advertising: Ads@alarab.co.uk

    Tel 020 3667 7249

    Mohamed Al Mufti

    Marketing & Advertising Manager

    Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

    Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

    www.alarab.co.uk

    Al Arab Publishing House

    Kensington Centre

    177-179 Hammersmith Road

    London W6 8BS , UK

    Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

    Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

    Follow Us
    © The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved