Fahed Khitan

The Tragedy of Syria

تم نشره في Sat 13 February / Feb 2016. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Sun 14 February / Feb 2016. 07:06 PM
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I went back to a document produced by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, published in yesterday's Al Ghad issue, summing up the effects of the Syrian crisis over the past year, 2015.

Once you are done reviewing the report, it feels as if someone has thrown you into a deep pit full of mutilated corpses, of which you will never come out.

The catastrophe lies not merely in what has happened in Syria, but in the dark looming future that awaits millions of Syrians, even if, by some miracle, the war would come to an end this very next day. One is speechless before the failing movements worldwide to force a cease-fire in Syria. Added the pointless diplomatic clashes between Moscow and Washington on one side, and Riyadh and Tehran on the other, one can only ask those meeting in Munich and Geneva: What peace and stability are you talking about after all this destruction and havoc?

Speaking of havoc, the humanitarian crisis in Syria deserves a pause, to say the least. Average life expectancy was once 70 years at birth back in 2010. 5 years later, in 2015, life expectancy average in Syria dropped to 55 years.

Close to 12 per cent of Syrians are either dead or injured. More than 3 million Syrians have taken refuge in neighboring and other countries, and over 6 million have been internally displaced; the overall population of Syria decreased by 21 per cent towards the end of 2015.

The only sector in Syria that showed signs of growth by 17 per cent is Violence; including mainly “the direct involvement in fighting, warfare, and the practice of illegal acts such as smuggling, monopoly, theft, human trafficking, and arms trade”.

Expenditure on arms by militant gangs and terrorists surpassed 6 billion US Dollars, as opposed to the Syrian state’s totaling more than 14 billion US dollars spent on arms and military grade equipment, while black market oil trade exceeds 5 billion Dollars. Overall, the study estimated the economic losses Syria has incurred since the beginning of the crisis by the end of last year at about 254 billion US Dollars; that is equivalent to 468 per cent of the Country’s GDP from 2010 based on constant pricing.

52 per cent of Syrians are unemployed and 85 per cent live in poverty; 69 per cent of whom are "unable to secure minimum basic needs".

What is worse than all this is the state of the education sector —that is; the future of Syria and any nation around the world. The report shows that the proportion of children and citizens un-enrolled in education has increased to reach 42 per cent of the total population eligible to enroll in education and schools. The study estimated the loss of educational capacity in years by about 24 million years, and at a cost of about 16 billion Dollars.

Previously, many similar reports cited the scale of destruction in residential buildings and public facilities in Syria. The images taken of the historic and cosmopolitan city of Aleppo cruelly shows how the City’s unique identity of human civilisation is fading away; its history and its quarters dating back thousands of years are completely wiped out.

After all this, is it really worth it to talk about a cease-fire, and a political resolution in Syria? About the productive Syria, the lively Syria, the Kurdish mini-state in Syria, and all the silly debates over political transition and who is to succeed Bashar al-Assad?


It is said that the Syria we all knew would never be as it once was. That is the least that could be said to minimise the true magnitude of the tragedy; the most important question is: Do we know anything about the future of Syria?