A group of United Nations experts have produced a figure which puts a price tag on seven years of war in Syria in terms of overall destruction to the country: nearly $400 billion.
The UN just concluded a two day meeting of over 50 Syrian and international experts in Lebanon who met under the aegis of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
According to the AFP, the group of economic analysts concluded that the "volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution" is estimated at more than $388 billion (334 billion euros).
The ESCWA experts added that the figure does not include "human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labor due to displacement, which were considered the most important enablers of the Syrian economy." The group said it will produce a full final report of its findings later in September.
Though over half of Syria's pre-war population either fled the country or was internally displaced, according to most estimates, since last year there's been a number of reports suggesting a significant surge in refugees and displaced persons actually returning to their homes to rebuild.
Just prior to the beginning of the 2011 unrest, Syria was a fast-growing, lower-middle-income country with an average annual GDP growth of 4.3%; but a major study produced six years into the war by the World Bank, entitled The Toll of War: The Economic and Social Consequences of the Conflict in Syria, found that by 2017 Syria’s GDP had contracted by an estimated 63%, amounting to a cumulative loss of $226 billion, about four times the 2010 GDP, the World Bank report found.
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The final ESCWA report is expected to take into account these and other economic loss figures from throughout the war.
Journalist for the watchdog media group FAIR, Ben Norton, said the new UN ESCWA report underscores that economic warfare was a key element to external plans for regime change.
Norton said, "one of the intended effects of the international war on Syria: the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar weren't able to overthrow the Syrian government, but they were able to bleed the country of c. $400 billion." He added, "And it's the people who suffer."