“Official Damascus will have to negotiate with the Gulf monarchies, with Turkey and other states because it needs enormous sums.”


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Russia has issued another appeal for international money for the Assad regime’s reconstruction of Syria.

The latest message comes via Russian State outlet TASS, framed as the analysis of Ruslan Mamedov, coordinator of Middle East programs of the Russian Council on International Affairs:

Official Damascus will have to negotiate with the Gulf monarchies, with Turkey and other states because it needs enormous sums to revive the country. It will be very difficult to do it without the Arab countries and Ankara.

I think Damascus is pragmatic enough to see that it would be much better to involve these countries in the restoration process.

In recent weeks, as pro-Assad forces have reoccupied more opposition territory, Russian officials — including President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — have called on the international community to provide reconstruction funds. They have said that this would enable the return of some of the 6.6 million registered Syrian refugees to return to the country, with officials putting out various, unsupported numbers of those who are ready to come back.

Syria has lost about 75% of its GDP during the 89-month conflict. A UN agency said last week that the cost of damage is $388 billion.

The economies of both Russia and Iran, the essential allies of the Assad regime, are fragile with both countries — especially the Islamic Republic — facing US sanctions.

The Gulf countries and Turkey, who backed the opposition through the Syrian uprising, have given no indication they will provide assistance. Mamedov insisted that they would seek cooperation with Damascus as the regime is “winning”. He offered no other support for the assertion.

Ankara’s position is further complicated by both its occupation of much of northwest Syria, alongside the opposition, and by its own economic crisis, with the lira losing 44% of its value against the US dollar this year to reach a historic low.

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