Syria Crisis Has Cost Public Sector $15 Billion in Two Years

Six killed as Assad forces bombard cities of Homs, Idlib, activists say; loyalists seek to reclaim territory lost to rebels.

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Government attacks on central and northern cities in Syria killed six people on Sunday, activists said, as the government announced that two years of conflict have cost the public sector $15 billion.

President Bashar Assad's forces have been on the offensive in the central city of Homs, reclaiming some of the territory they lost to the rebels since the uprising began.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian army warplanes pounded the old quarters of Homs, killing one woman and two children.

Further north, in the suburbs of Idlib, three other civilians, including one woman and one child, were killed in army clashes with the rebels, the Observatory added.

A city of about 1 million, Homs has been a flashpoint since the early days of the uprising, and many residents have sided with the rebels.

It is Syria's third largest city and capital of its largest province, which carries the same name and stretches from the Lebanese border to the frontier with Jordan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, local Administration Minister Omar Al Ibrahim Ghalaounji revealed that public sector losses over the 27 months of conflict amount to $15 billion.

Ghalaounji said that more than 9,000 government establishments were also damaged in the crisis, which began as peaceful protests in March 2011 and later
deteriorated into all-out civil war.

Elsewhere, the Observatory reported clashes between the army and rebels in at least three other provinces - the capital Damascus and the northern cities of Aleppo and Hama.

Buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Assad in the Al-Khalidiya neighborhood of Homs, June 28, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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