A UN sponsored study reveals that Syria's economic losses since 2011 reached around $144 billion at the end of 2013.
Reuters news agency reported that: "The study, conducted by the Damascus based-Syrian Centre for Policy Research and commissioned by the United Nations and International Monetary Fund estimates of a 40 per cent contraction in GDP since the start the conflict in 2011." Losses are estimated at $143.8 billion, almost triple the Syrian GDP in 2010.
Citing the study, Arabs 48 news web site reported that 54 per cent of the Syrian workforce is currently unemployed, i.e., there are 3.9 million jobless Syrians, including 2.67 million who lost their jobs during the conflict, leading to about 11 million people losing their primary source of financial support.
According to the news website, the study said: "Syria has become a country of poor people afflicted by a ruinous descent into poverty, whereby three in every four Syrians lived in poverty at the end of 2013, with more than half the population (54.3 per cent) living in extreme poverty where they were unable to secure the most basic food and non-food items required for the survival of their households. Some 20 per cent of the population survives in abject poverty where they were unable to meet their basic food needs, with the abject poor in conflict zones and besieged areas facing hunger, malnutrition and starvation."
According to the study, the rise in public consumption and the decline in revenues and national production have resulted in the growth of the public debt during the second half of 2013, to reach 126 per cent of GDP.
The study states that the Syrian government imported petroleum and basic commodities to alleviate shortages in the local market, and it continues to subsidise basic goods.
"With massive de-industrialisation, business closure and bankruptcy, capital flight, as well as widespread looting and destruction of business and household assets having already taken place during the course of the fighting, the armed conflict has spawned institutional distortions emerging from a new political economy that is creating economies of violence, which flouts human rights, civil liberties, property rights and the rule of law," the study said.
Earlier this year, another study predicted that the Syrian economy would need 30 years to be rebuilt in order to return to 2010 levels.