More and more, Syria's central government has been unable to provide basic services to much of its population, weakening its authority. In rebel-held territories, competing opposition factions furnish necessities such as food, water and electricity.
(SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP/Getty Images)
Six years of conflict in Syria has left its economy in tatters. Since 2010, the country's gross domestic product has shrunk by more than half. The war has devastated Syria's population, killing more than 440,000 people and driving some 6 million more out of the country, a loss that will cripple the country long after the fighting inevitably stops. An estimated 60 percent of Syria's population -- what's left of it -- is currently unemployed, and it's hard to say how many more Syrians are underemployed.
Though the Syrian government entered the new year at an advantage over its opposition, having just retaken the city of Aleppo, its financial decline has undermined its ability to exert control over the country. So when the time comes to begin picking up the pieces, the government in Damascus will not embark on the daunting task of reconstruction alone. Several countries have already begun extending...