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A painful price tag

Sep 23,2017 - Last updated at Sep 23,2017

The estimated price tag for the reconstruction of Syria after seven years of destructive war was put by some experts at a staggering $900 billion figure.

The war has led to the displacement of roughly 5 million people. According to recent UNHCR figures, 14 million people in Syria are “in need”, some 6.3 million are internally displaced and about 5 million people are “hard to reach” because they live in besieged areas.

It is difficult to put a price tag to the above heart-rending figures. 

Buildings and infrastructure could be rebuilt, but what can one contribute towards “rebuilding” destroyed lives, soothing traumatised families, doing right by the children who missed out on school or erasing the pain of death of dear ones?

Yes, the price for the reconstruction of Syria is bound to be extremely high, as entire cities were razed to the ground and most of the country’s infrastructure was reduced to ruin.

But the nations that could foot such massive aid package are mostly the rich and developed countries that, by and large, took a certain position vis-à-vis the warring parties involved in the seven-year conflict in Syria.

Western countries were critical of the Syrian regime right from the start, accusing it of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including deploying chemical weapons against its own people.

Those countries are not likely to spend billions on Syria without conditions, among which the need to instate true democracy and the rule of law, and to hold all those implicated in the commission of crimes accountable.

But that translates exactly into an attempt, on the part of the rich nations, to achieve what they failed to obtain by meddling in the civil war in the country. 

A dirty game whose price was paid, first and foremost, by the people.

And if the reconstruction of Syria can be an effective instrument for introducing pluralistic democracy, there will be some regime allies, notably Iran and Russia, that would not welcome such scenario, since it could spoil their gains and could curtail their influence in shaping the future of the country.

Yet Iran, a rich country with quite high revenues from oil exports, and Russia, still a substantial power with a stumbling economy, wield influence on Damascus; as such, they need to be factored in, in any international effort to rebuild Syria.

Compromises will have to be made along the way by all those that wish to get involved in post-war Syria.


While the spoils of war normally go to the victor, the outside forces that meddled in Syria’s affairs will have to realise that the return for rebuilding Syria might not be that high, particularly if they mean what they say: that the country has to be rebuilt for its people to finally be able to lead a normal life.

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