By Reuters – Jun 03,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
A street vendor waits for customers during the holy month of Ramadan in the rebel-held Tafas town, in Deraa Governorate, Syria, on Wednesday (Reuters photo)
GENEVA — Syria is unlikely to see a major “Marshall Plan” for reconstruction as peace remains elusive despite hundreds of thousands more civilians possibly returning to their homes, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday.
ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking after his fifth visit to Syria, said the aid agency was stepping up work to restore the water, health and power infrastructure in areas retaken by the government, to which civilians are returning.
“Some people speak now about a big Marshall Plan for Syria, but we also know this will not happen if there is no political consensus and minimal stability,” Maurer told a small group of reporters in his Geneva office.
“You can’t expect humanitarian and development agencies to rebuild Syria. There is not enough money, there is not enough capacity, there are not enough skills.”
Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed last month to arrange and monitor “de-escalation zones” in Syria to ease the fighting. Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that the zones are a chance for rebels to “reconcile” with Damascus and drive out Islamist militants.
Up to 8 million people remain displaced in Syria, and a maximum of 500,000 have returned to Aleppo and other areas, Maurer said. Another 700,000-800,000 may be considering a return to their homes in these zones or under local ceasefires that include the evacuation of rebels to Idlib province, he said.