Cost of Syria devastation over $1.91 trillion, report says

DAMASCUS - The cost of the devastating conflict in Syria has topped the US$1.5 trillion (S$1.91 trillion) mark, a study published in the country's daily Al-Watan said Tuesday, as bombings, fighting and sabotage take their toll.

If the war in Syria suddenly stopped and reconstruction began now, some US$73 billion (S$93.28 billion) would be needed to put the country back on track, said the study in the newspaper, which is close to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Quoting Syrian real estate expert Ammar Yussef, the report said bombings, fighting and sabotage of infrastructure during the conflict had partially or completely destroyed 1.5 million dwellings for a total cost of US$1.573 trillion.

The report added reconstruction - if it started now - would involve 10,000 building sites, 15,000 trucks, 10,000 cement mixers and some six million workers.

More than 110,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011, including over 40,100 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Compounding the chronic violence, hundreds died in an alleged poison gas attack on August 21 that shocked the world and was blamed by some Western and Arab countries on the Assad regime - a claim it denies.

The United States and France are considering launching military action in Syria over the suspected gas attack.