And the full extent of contamination with explosives had not even been assessed. Real GDP declined by about two-thirds over the same period. Together with high military spending, the collapse of state revenues because of the loss of oil and tax revenues and the collapse of foreign trade led to a steep decline in public investment — from 9 percent of GDP in to 0. This has in turn led to a noticeable increase in public debt, dwindling currency reserves and a dramatic devaluation of the Syrian pound.
Before the uprising in one US dollar cost about 50 Syrian pounds. In October the price reached about pounds. By mid-January , against the backdrop of an escalating financial crisis in Lebanon, it had spiked to 1, pounds. By June , with financial meltdown in Lebanon, the impact of Covid and the psychological effect of US sanctions, it reached a record high of 3, pounds.
Damascus lacks the resources to pursue economic reconstruction or invest in infrastructure. The only planned spending cuts are a reduction in subsidies, including those on fuel. As a result the fiscal situation is likely to remain tight. But they also affect independent entrepreneurs, humanitarian aid and the supply of basic necessities for the population.
As such, it must be assumed that they contribute to increasing unemployment, reducing wages and salaries, and increasing the cost of living. Observers assume that more than half a million people have been killed in the course of the fighting in Syria and hundreds of thousands more injured.
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At the beginning of about 5. New waves of displacement occurred at the beginning of , above all in the contested province of Idlib. The conflict has had an enormous impact on Syrian social and human capital. Human development has also suffered. The conflict has particularly grave long-term effects in the education and health sectors. The Syrian health system is now also completely dysfunctional.
One consequence of this has been a dramatic decline in immunisation rates and increases in disease, epidemics and infant mortality. One reason for this is that the UNHCR still does not have unhindered access to returnees to ensure their security and for service provision. For that reason, the UN and international organisations like the IOM are not actively supporting return.
Surveys conducted by UNHCR in show that the main reasons for Syrian refugees not to return are fear of political persecution, lawlessness and forced conscription, and feeling unsafe or being unable to reclaim property because of missing documentation. It documents almost two thousand cases where returnees were arbitrarily detained. Almost one-third disappeared; fifteen are known to have died under torture. Refugees also expect that access to basic services will be heavily restricted, especially in formerly embattled areas.
At the same time the EU has imposed comprehensive sanctions on Syrian institutions and individuals. Taken together, the EU and its member states are by far the largest donor in this area.
To a limited extent the EU and its member states also support small rehabilitation and development projects run by INGOs and Syrian civil society organisations. These measures have been regularly updated and extended annually by decision of the member states. Exports of military and dual-use goods to Syria are prohibited. The sanctions package also includes far-reaching sectoral measures that hinder reconstruction.
This applies in particular to restrictions on funding for oil and electricity infrastructure projects; the ban on European Investment Bank EIB funding for projects that would benefit the Syrian state; and restrictions on cooperation in banking and transport, for example in the case of the Syrian airline. To date all EU member states have regularly voted to continue the sanctions.
But cracks are appearing in the European stance. Germany, France and the United Kingdom are the most insistent on adhering to the existing position. Reconstruction in Syria touches above all on three European interests. One reason for this is that European states possess no relevant military presence and have largely refrained from throwing their political weight onto the international scales.
It certainly excludes cooperation not only with the top regime leaders, but also with representatives of state institutions. Europe has not to date adequately thought through how its interests, as laid out above, can be pursued under the assumption that the Assad regime survives. One thing is clear: If the EU member states break ranks towards Damascus they risk losing even the little influence they might have had. Only if the funding of reconstruction, the resumption of diplomatic relations and sanctions relief are advanced collectively and deliberately can they generate positive political momentum.
Hama, Homs, Siria
It would therefore make sense to adjust the European approach to better correspond to current realities, bring European interests and instruments into line, and make the most effective possible use of the little influence that Europe can have. Their prime concern is consolidating their grip on power. Everything else is subordinate to that, even at the expense of large parts of the population. First and foremost, Europe should considerably step up diplomatic activity. And Europe rightly stresses that the countries responsible for stoking the conflict or for causing war damage bear a special obligation to finance the reconstruction.
Reconstruction in Syria - SWP
Thus, rather than being dispensed according to international standards for humanitarian aid, it serves the interests of regime preservation. At the same time it is beyond doubt that Syrians will remain — and increasingly so — dependent on external support for the foreseeable future.
This would allow them to reduce their dependency on local organisations and businesses that are directly or indirectly connected to the regime. The dilemma for Europe is that sustainable stabilisation in Syria can be achieved neither in cooperation with the current leadership in Damascus nor against it, i.
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If the respective sectoral European sanctions were lifted, this would remove at least one important obstacle inhibiting rehabilitation for example in the electricity sector and a further deterioration of living conditions. But Europe should have no illusions. There is little Europe can currently do to facilitate the return of refugees and IDPs. There is no sign of the required change of stance in Damascus nor of the required progress on reconstruction.
Shiite Militiamen From Across the Arab World Train at a Base Near Tehran to Do Battle in Syria
OCHA coordinates effective and principled humanitarian action, advocates the rights of people in need, promotes preparedness and prevention and facilitates sustainable solutions. OCHA continues to invest in digitizing its data and information management tools and reports. The 4Ws Presence dashboard helps organizations identify potential partners and provides a snapshot of an on-going response. The Interagency Operations dashboard facilitates harmony and consistency of effort, maximizes use of resources, and implementation of multidisciplinary humanitarian response.
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A total of To date, the Syrian MoH has confirmed 82 deaths and recoveries. According to the Syrian MoH, 76 healthcare workers four per cent of reported cases have tested positive for COVID, an increase of 31 since the last report. This highlights the particular risks faced by healthcare workers; and underscores the potential for its overstretched healthcare capacity to be further compromised.
Unverified reports have also been received of an increase in obituaries, death notices and burials. While the UN is not in a position to verify this information; it is of note that official cases confirmed by the MoH have more than doubled in the last three weeks - indicating that community transmission is now widespread. Since July, the epidemiological situation in Syria has rapidly evolved.
In July, cases were confirmed, compared to cases in June and 79 cases in May. At the time of writing in August, authorities have confirmed more than cases. Given the limited testing across Syria, it is therefore possible that asymptomatic and mild cases are going undetected and the actual number of cases may far exceed official figures.