Published On: Mon, Aug 24th, 2015

Aid Most Needed in War Torn Syria

In an effort to restore relations with Syria, the UK is looking at the aid most needed in the war torn country. Rather than continuing with aerial bombarding, Western nations need to step up and offer what help they can to this country that has lost its biggest sources of pre-war revenue. Based on a recent article on the LSE, London School of Economics and Political Science, website, what is called for is ‘dynamic state building.’

Syria Operating with a ‘War Economy’

Prior to the war, often referred to in the West as ‘skirmishes,’ the main sources of revenue in Syria were threefold. The included:

  • Agriculture
  • The public sector
  • Tourism and smaller industries

Those sectors have literally ceased to provide any scalable source of income so Syrian men are being forced to seek employment elsewhere. Unfortunately, this means they have gone to work for ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) militants that offer salaries much, much higher than other ‘military’ salaries in the region. With a high unemployment rate, men will seek employment wherever they can to support their households.

Sources of Income and Revenue in the War Economy

Not only are Syrian men being forced to seek employment with militants that are tearing apart the nation but many are finding other, equally unfavourable, sources of income such as:

  • Bribery
  • Looting
  • Extortion
  • Smuggling people
  • Smuggling antiquities
  • Smuggling fuel

The reason why fuel is being smuggled is that it is not available in those regions controlled by the opposition. Because of this, it is necessary to either purchase fuel from those regions not controlled by the opposition (government controlled) or from ISIL. An unfortunate aspect here is that the price of diesel has risen to such a point that it cannot be purchased for its former primary use – agriculture.

photo/ Understandingwar.org

photo/ Understandingwar.org

The Ultimate Goal of Providing Aid

Naturally help is being offered in a humanitarian gesture but there are other, even farther-reaching, goals for offering aid to this war-torn nation. In an effort to help restore the country as a sovereign nation not under ISIL threat, it is imperative to do whatever possible to rebuild the economy. Humanitarian charities within the UK are being established to help children that were left homeless or orphaned due to the violence and those interested can make a small commitment to donate to Syria.

Unsuccessful Efforts to Stop Funding to ISIL

One of the ways in which the UK, the US and other Western nations are trying to aid Syrian restoration efforts is to intercept aid to ISIL. These efforts have been unsuccessful to date so efforts are being diverted to aiding Syrians to help them re-establish their independence from this militant group. These efforts include ceasing the payment of ransoms. Once the militants realise they won’t be paid it is hoped that they will cease taking hostages to barter with.

The Middle East has undergone more than its share of violence in recent years. The UK government and private citizens are banding together to offer what monetary help they can. Charities are being established to collect donations but more is needed. There doesn’t seem to be an end to the ‘war’ in the near future, but in time, this aid is hoped to help re-establish Syria to its pre-war state.

Guest Author: Keith Sullivan

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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