Damascus: The Syrian crisis enters its ninth year this month, leaving in its wake a trail of death, destruction, destitution, displacement and division.
The war has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced at least 12 million, and left the country’s economy and infrastructure in ruins.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a speech on Feb. 17: “We have this romantic view sometimes that we are victorious. No, the war is not over.”
Statistics and figures from Syrian Customs, provided by economist and financial advisor Dr. Humam Al-Jazaeri, show that the volume of foreign trade plummeted between 2010 and 2016 due to non-UN (US and EU) sanctions, the suspension of oil production, damage to physical infrastructure and the closure of border crossings with Jordan and Iraq.
“A compliance buffer zone at financial institutions has been put in place voluntarily, especially by international banks, against transactions in goods and services traded with Syria, leading to a significant rise in international transaction costs, including the costs of shipping, insurance and financing,” he said.
“Due to non-UN sanctions, combined with the conflict, the capabilities of Syrian banks have been significantly eroded in facilitating international payments.”
The tide of the war has turned in the Syrian regime’s favor, with the bulk of the country back in its control, prompting some Arab states to begin normalizing ties with Damascus.
Jordan reopened its main border crossing with Syria in October 2018, and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir visited Damascus in mid-December, the first Arab ruler to visit the country since the war began in 2011.