Destruction, looting and crime has left the Syrian economy in ruins and increasing numbers of its people destitute — and still the war rages. According to a United Nations report, more than half the population of Syria has been plunged into poverty as a result of the devastation caused by the conflict — with unemployment reaching 48.6 per cent. Their suffering is being exacerbated by the collapse of basic services, like health and education.
About half of Syria’s two million refugees are children, many of whom are living without sufficient food, clothes or medicines in refugee camps and other makeshift shelters. Their future is bleak.
According to the report, “the Syrian economy experienced massive de-industrialisation  as a result of business closure and bankruptcy, capital flight, looting and destruction.” It also warned that the war has spawned “black markets and criminal activity  and economies of violence that will plague post-conflict economic regulation”.
Many ordinary people have reportedly turned to crime to survive, while businesses struggle to survive the lawlessness. While companies and infrastructure can be rebuilt, it is much harder to restore communities and good governance and — no matter the outcome of the conflict — Syria faces the danger of becoming a failed state, like some others that could not overcome the aftermath of civil war.
No matter the economic statistics, the real cost of the war must always be measured in human suffering.