>> Syria's last rebel-held region under fresh attack Tuesday. Observers reporting new airstrikes on Idlib ahead of an expected government offensive but even as bombs fall, Syria's government is thinking about how to rebuild a shattered country. The UN says the task will cost $388 billion and Western sanctions won't make it any easier.
Reuters correspondent Angus McDowell in Beirut, says even manpower is a problem.>> While the physical cost are immense, an even greater cost is in the human resources side, when speaking economically. Millions and millions of workers have fled the country, been killed, or conscripted and their loss may be even harder to replace.
>> Syria's allies, Russia and Iran, along with China, have made some investments in the country but they want other countries to share the cost of rebuilding. Western capitals say without political settlement, they won't approve reconstruction or drop sanctions, this means most western companies are steering clear.>> What might concern any company around the world most when thinking of doing business in Syria is the long reach of American sanctions.
The United States defines its jurisdiction in sanctions cases in a way that can apply not only to American citizens and American companies but also to anybody permanent residents of other countries living in the United States and to US branch offices in other countries.>> US sanctions have frozen the assets of the Syrian state, along with hundreds of companies and individuals.
They ban trading, investing, or providing services in Syria. European Union sanctions also in place, although less sweeping. Syria's Finance Minister says all such measures are unjust as they affect ordinary people as well as the government and army. For businesses and investors, Syria is still no place for the faint-hearted.