Syria Live Coverage: Watch VIDEO of the Attack in Damascus / SYRIA’S ECONOMIC DOWNFALL

Friday, February 8, 2013 Scott Lucas EA World View

The Economy. The Syria Policy Studies Center calculates that the country has suffered an economic loss of $48.4 billion in the past 22 months — 81.7% of its GDP in 2012. GDP fell 29.1% year-on-year in 2012 from destruction of production facilities, deterioration of the security situation, and economic sanctions, according to the UN. Unemployment was 35% and is projected to exceed 60% by the end of 2015 if the turbulence continues.There has been $25.3 billion in damage to public and private facilities, with 624,000 families and 3.3 million people affected.

A total of 2,326 schools have been damaged, with only 300 repaired. In Aleppo Province, only 11% of schools are holding classes, far below the national average of 75%.

The conflict has destroyed 25 public hospitals and 111 medical centers and forced 25 of 72 pharmaceutical factories to suspend production,

In communications, 170 of 700 telephone switchboards and 1700 of 6000 cellphone signal towers hsve been destroyed.

Flour output across the whole country has dropped to 5500 tonnes per day, falling far short of the nationwide demand of 7000 tonnes. The Government has had to use reserves while planning to import 100,000 tonnes.

0640 GMT: Insurgents and Weapons. We start Friday with James Miller’s special update to Tuesday’s exclusive on the arming of the opposition, “The Insurgent Offensive Against Damascus and the Foreign Weapons“.

One outcome of that offensive yesterday was an insurgent move into the Qaddam section of the capital. Video showed a convoy of fighters, armed with anti-tank weapons, recoilless rifles, and at least one advance grenade launcher.

Meanwhile, the regime continues its aerial attacks on eastern suburbs of Damascus, but with no sign that they are dislodging the insurgents.

The Local Coordination Committees claimed 161 people were killed on Thursday, including 13 women and eight children. Sixty-eight of the deaths were in Hama Province — many of them in an explosion in Salamiya — 33 in Damascus and its suburbs, and 28 in Homs Province.