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Ten years of war in Syria has cost more than $1.2 trillion: World Vision report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man stands atop a building looking at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, 2015.

A new report by a humanitarian aid group has revealed that the economic cost of the ongoing foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria after 10 years is estimated to be at over US 1.2 trillion, besides the loss of thousands of civilian lives and displacement of millions of people.

The 'Too high a price to pay: the cost of conflict for Syria's children' report launched by California-based World Vision International in partnership with Frontier Economics says even if the war ended today, the cost will continue to accumulate to the tune of an additional $1.4 trillion in today’s money through to 2035.

The report went on to say that the negative impacts of the war on the Syrian children's health and education will bring the figure up to $1.7 trillion.

The group also said the life expectancy of Syrian children has been reduced by 13 years.

Yet despite such losses, humanitarian aid to Syria over the last 10 years amounted to $19.4 billion, or just 1.6% of the total economic cost.

“Children come to us on a daily basis in Syria, hungry, cold and deeply distressed by what they have witnessed and experienced," Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response Director, said.

“Boys and girls aged five or six can name every type of bomb by its sound, but sometimes can barely write their name, having missed out on the chance of an education. We cannot let them remain trapped in this cycle of violence. We must stop the war and the shadow pandemic of violence against children before it is too late,” Mooij added.

“The war in Syria has been a decade of disaster,” Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada, also said.

“While the world has stood by and allowed this conflict to rage on, millions of children have been caught in the crosshairs. Children continue to be killed, ripped from their homes, robbed of their rights and denied essential services like healthcare and education. Lasting peace is now the only viable solution and the international community must do everything in their power to make this happen before more young lives are cut short,” Messenger pointed out.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Syrian government troops and their allies have managed to retake roughly 80 percent of the war-ravaged Arab country’s territory from the Takfiri terrorists.

The Syrian army is fighting to drive out remaining militants, but the presence of US and European forces in addition to Turkish troops has slowed down its advances.

US deploys new missile systems in Syria

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement issued on Friday that the US forces have started deploying new defense systems in its bases in northern and eastern Syria in the aftermath of the recent US military airstrikes on the positions of Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The Britain-based monitor group said that anti-drone air systems and surface-to-surface missiles were being deployed in the al-Omar oil field in Syria’s northeastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

The US forces are bringing the new equipment from their bases in the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, SOHR added.

More systems will be deployed in the coming days in all US bases in northern and eastern Syria, the statement noted.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on February 8 that US forces in Syria are no longer responsible for protecting oil fields in the country, while admitting that an American firm is looting Syrian crude oil without authorization from Damascus.

Kirby told reporters that since an American firm had signed a deal with Kurdish militants in northern Syria last year to help exploit the country’s oil reserves, US troops were not involved.

Damascus has said the agreement — signed between the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group and an American oil company named by media sources as Delta Crescent Energy LLC — is null and void, and that the parties involved are plundering Syria’s national resources.

Pentagon official claimed that the US military personnel and contractors “are not authorized to provide assistance to any other private company, including its employees or agents seeking to develop oil resources in northeast Syria.”

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