Al-Assad estimates Syrian civil war's damage at 200 billion dollars

Syria's civil war has caused upwards of 200 billion dollars of damage, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published Wednesday.

Syria is counting on Russia, China and Iran to help rebuild the country, al-Assad told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

"The economic issues can be immediately resolved when the situation in Syria stabilizes, but the restoration of the infrastructure will require a long time," al-Assad said.

He praised Russia's military support of his government and said Russian bases are needed in Syria to maintain a regional balance of power.

He also said the format of a new government in Syria should be determined through negotiations in Geneva. A new administration should include forces loyal to the current government as well as members of the opposition and independents.

Syria's civil war, which began with a government crackdown on a protest movement against al-Assad, has lasted more than five years and claimed the lives of at least 250,000 people, according to estimates by the United Nations.

Russia began a bombing campaign against insurgents in Syria last year to support al-Assad, a longtime ally, and restore some stability to the country. With Russia's support, al-Assad's military has regained significant territory.

Some insurgent groups in Syria are supported by Middle Eastern and Western powers, such as the United States, saying that al-Assad's regime has committed crimes against humanity, including mass killings of civilians.

Last month, Russia and the US brokered a ceasefire deal in Syria that appears to be predominantly holding. However, the deal does not include UN-designated terrorist groups, such as Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

Last update: Wed, 30/03/2016 - 16:58
Author: 

More from World

Reports: Wife of Orlando gay nightclub shooter arrested in California

The wife of the man who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Florida in June has been arrested, according to news...

Five killed in shooting in Mexico after music festival

A shooting early Monday at a Mexican beach disco where people had gathered at the end of a music festival killed...

Four Turkish police officers killed by blast in south-east

A blast killed four Turkish police officers in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir on Monday, the state-run Anadolu...

Trump's 'obsolete' NATO comments rattle EU foreign ministers

US president-elect Donald Trump's criticism of NATO has been met with "concern" by the military alliance's top...

Burundi to withdraw AU troops from Somalia over salaries unpaid by EU

Burundi will withdraw its 5,400 troops serving as part of an African Union contingent in Somalia because the...