|Syrian refugees in Al-Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria (Photo: AFP/TTXVN)
Themed “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, the conference drew hundreds of NGOs and civic groups to discuss humanitarian aid and responses by Syrians and countries receiving Syrian refugees.
International support is essential
Syria has a mid-level economy based on agriculture, oil, industry and services, but things have turned upside down since the Arab Spring in 2011. A years-long civil war has destroyed local infrastructure and industry and dragged down the Syrian economy. Syria’s reconstruction will be difficult because the State budget has been so depleted by war. President Bashar Al Assad says Syria’s reconstruction will cost 250-400 billion USD. Experts say Syria will need 10 to 15 years to recover and restoring the infrastructure and the economy will require international support.
According to the UN, hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians were killed during the war and millions of people fled their homes. The war made more than three fourths of the Syrian labor force unemployed. The collapse of the basic service and health sectors resulted in many deaths from illness and lack of health care.
Syria is making efforts
Syria is resuming its relations with Arab countries to seek money for national reconstruction. Earlier this month, Syria’s Parliament Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh led a delegation to Jordan for an Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting. Last December, Sudanese President Omar Bashir visited Damascus. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have announced they will reopen their embassies in Syria.
In January, Syria and Iran signed several cooperative deals on business, trade, and banking. Iran agreed to help Syria repair power stations and build a new power plant in the coastal province of Latakia. Russia and Syria signed a number of agreements on business, science and industrial cooperation two months ago in Damascus.
After 9 years of conflict, Syria urgently needs to resolve its humanitarian crisis and reconstruct the country. The war is not yet over, but a conference on mobilizing resources is a step toward a brighter future for Syria.