By Adnan Haj Omar, Editor-in-Chief of Arabisk London Magazine.
The operations to annihilate ISIL once and for all have finally reached their last stage. The latest round of peace talks in Astana has resulted in the finalisation of a de-escalation zone. The Kurdish issue has become a common denominator and a priority to be addressed by most of the regional powers involved.
The Syrian Army has regained control of numerous areas of the country, while attempts to reconciliation are ongoing in regions like Reef Dimashq and Reef Homs. In addition to that, the reopening of the Nasib border crossing with Jordan has now been put on the table.
In the light of these premises, it is impossible not to ask ourselves a few questions: Where does the reconstruction of Syria stand in all this? Has it really started thanks to the efforts carried out by both the Syrian government and its allies? Can the Damascus International Fair be considered the starting point of the reconstruction? Many more questions could be asked.
According to a report issued in July 2017 by the World Bank, called “Toll of War: The Economic and Social Consequences of the Conflict in Syria”, more than 20% of the Syrian homes have either been completely razed to the ground or heavily damaged, while statistics on the number of schools, hospitals, roads, oil and gas plants that have been entirely or partially destroyed are much higher. The report also estimates that the removal of 15M tons of rubble in Aleppo and Homs only will take years.
According to current estimations, the costs for the reconstruction of Syria range between 200 and 350 billion USD. If these numbers are correct, will the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and those countries that wish to take part in the process like Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq be able to sustain these costs, a big part of which will be investments? Or will they need a larger international cooperation which includes not only international institutions but also the governments of rich states, such as those of the GCC and the EU or the US?