Syria’s public sector lost $15b to war

AMMAN, Jordan — More than two years of fighting in Syria’s civil war has damaged some 9,000 state buildings and run up $15 billion in losses to the public sector, a government minister said Sunday, shining a light on the devastating toll the crisis has taken on the country’s economy.

Syria’s civil war has laid waste to entire neighborhoods in the country’s cities and towns, destroyed much of its manufacturing base and infrastructure, and brought oil production and exports to a halt.

According to a UN estimate, more than 93,000 people have been killed since the start of the uprising. More than a million people have fled the country and millions more are displaced within it.


In comments published in Syrian newspapers, Local Administration Minister Omar Al Ibrahim Ghalaounji said the $15 billion in damages to the public sector were sustained between March 2011, when the uprising against President Bashar Assad began, and March 2013. He said they were the result of ‘‘terrorist attacks on government buildings and infrastructure.’’

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The government commonly refers to those fighting to topple Assad as ‘‘terrorists.’’

Former Syrian planning minister Abdullah al-Dardari, who leads a six-member UN team drawing up a comprehensive postwar reconstruction plan, recently estimated the overall damage to Syria’s economy at $60 billion to $80 billion.

He said Syria’s economy has shrunk by about 35 percent, compared to the 6 percent annual growth Syria enjoyed in the five years before the conflict began. The economy lost almost 40 percent of its gross domestic product, and foreign reserves have been extensively depleted, he said.