AIES Fokus 5/2017: Das nächste Kapitel der Krise in Syrien
Christine Strassmaier: The next chapter of the Syria crises – (obstacles to) reconstruction under the perspective of the current and future trajectory of the conflict, AIES Fokus 5/2017
The reconstruction of Syria will be the new chapter in the Syrian conflict. It is also one of the last remaining opportunities for the European Union to influence developments in Syria and use its financial capacity as leverage on the Syria government and its allies Russia and Iran. While Russian and Iranian firms have secured major deals for reconstruction of the infrastructure and energy sector, these investment projects to not address the need to revive civilian life in Syria. Meaningful and comprehensive reconstruction of Syria requires more than anything the safe and dignified return of the Syrian population, more than half displaced in neighboring countries and beyond. They carry the most important, but non-material asset for reconstruction: human capital, social and economic networks and connectivity - a loss that exceeds the value of the physical destruction1. However, return remains for most unlikely in the foreseeable future given the irreconcilability, absence of reform and hostility of the Syrian regime. While a formal political settlement of the conflict, enforced by Russia, is possible in 2018, the country is expected to remain ridden by conflict for years to come - old and new ones. Instead of releasing millions into early recovering and even reconstruction in the hope that this may be incentive enough for Syrian refugees to return, European donors should be clear about the political and military realities of Syria today and the dynamics in a 'post-conflict' Syria. This is not only necessary for the sake of political and ethical principles, but for a realistic assessment of the sustainability and priority of investing in Syria's reconstruction instead of supporting durable solutions for refugees in hosting countries. Reconstruction efforts that ignore these facts also risk another, even more violent internal uprising in the next decade.
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