The economic costs of Syria's conflict – which is in its seventh year – have been calculated by the World Bank (WB) in its latest report which projects losses at $226 billion.
"This is about four-times the Syrian GDP in 2010," said the institution's report released earlier this week.
The WB report focused on damage to infrastructure, loss of lives, displacement of people, economic outcomes, and human development results between 2011 and 2017.
It said that the conflict has destroyed about a third of the housing stock and about half of medical and education facilities.
Syria's war began on March 15, 2011 after security forces detained a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti in the southern city of Daraa.
The regime of Bashar al Assad came down heavily on protesters in a wider crackdown pushing Syria into what has become a civil and sectarian war.
Nine million jobless
The report estimated 400,000 to 470,000 people died as a result and over half of Syria's population was forcibly displaced "within or outside the country's border."
The bank has estimated that around six out of every 10 Syrians live in extreme poverty because of the war, adding that some 538,000 jobs were lost annually in the first four years of the conflict.
"The fact that nine million Syrians are not working will have consequences long after the fighting has stopped," said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Director for the region.
"The departure of nearly 5 million refugees, combined with inadequate schooling and malnutrition leading to stunting, will cause long-term deterioration of the county’s most valuable asset, its human capital. In the future, when Syria needs it most, there will be a collective shortage of vital skills."
Tearing apart social fabric
The report said that the long-term consequences of this inactivity will be a collective loss of human capital leading to a shortage of skills in Syria, adding, "Syria has become the largest forced displacement crisis in the world since World War II."
In the short-term, many men, especially the young, are joining the war as mercenaries to survive.
"The war in Syria is tearing apart the social and economic fabric of the country," said the bank's MENA Vice President, Hafez Ghanem.
"The number of casualties is devastating, but the war is also destroying the institutions and systems that societies need to function, and repairing them will be a greater challenge than rebuilding infrastructure – a challenge that will only grow as the war continues."
Difficult to recover if conflict prolongs
The report warns about the consequences if the conflict is lengthened.
"The longer the conflict continues, the more difficult the post-conflict recovery will be," the global bank said.
"Our results show that if the war were to end this year, the economy would recover 41 percent of the gap with its pre-conflict level over the following four years, and the losses from conflict would amount to 7.6 times the pre-conflict GDP over two decades," said Harun Onder, World Bank Senior Economist and lead author of the report, in a statement.
If the war continues into its 10th year the total losses would amount to 13 times the country's 2010 GDP over two decades, the bank found.
Author: Baba Umar