In five years of war, the people of Syria have suffered enormously. At least 300,000 Syrians are thought to have been killed, with another 2 million wounded—that’s one in ten Syrians. More than 6 million Syrians are internal refugees, and 5 million have been forced into exile.

Aron Lund
Aron Lund was a nonresident fellow in the Middle East Program and the author of several reports and books on the Syrian opposition movement.
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Even in the relatively stable government-controlled areas that are home for most Syrians, living standards have plummeted. According to a UN report, an incredible 83 percent lived below the poverty line in 2015, compared to less than a third before the war. Fully half of the population is now considered to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment was at 55 percent in 2015, with four out of five youths lacking a job. Many goods are hard to come by, and the government is in slow retreat from the limited welfare services and subsidies it used to offer. In five years, GDP has shrunk 55 percent.

Since this March, the value of Syria’s currency, the pound, has been sliding fast. Some economists now warn of a serious currency crisis. The dwindling value of the pound is cutting into Syrians’ purchasing power while raising the cost of subsidies on things like oil, which is imported and must be paid for in hard currency....

Read the full text of this article, originally published at the Century Foundation