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Syria assesses economic pain of civil war

  |   Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:14 PM
DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The private sector in Syria has suffered more than $1.6 billion in damages because of the two-year-old civil war, the minister of industry said Friday.

Members of the Syrian Parliament met in Damascus to assess the fiscal consequences of civil war. Speaker Mohamed Jihad al-Laham was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency as saying it was important to point out "flaws ... with courage and transparency with a view to serving the interests of the homeland and citizens.''

The Syrian government under President Bashar Assad is suspected of war crimes in its crackdown against opposition forces. Its allies note al-Qaida elements are fighting alongside anti-government forces.

Industry Minister Kamal Eddin Touma said large parts of the country's industrial sector were wiped out because of the conflict. He put the overall value of the losses at more than $726 million for the industrial sector and $1.6 billion in the private sector, SANA reports.

A team of U.N. weapons inspectors is on the ground in Syria reviewing claims the nerve agent sarin was used during the conflict. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Thursday it aimed to start dismantling parts of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal within the next week.

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