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CORRECTED: Syria infrastructure damage cost $11 bn: minister

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Damage to infrastructure across Syria after nearly two years of conflict is estimated to cost $11 billion (8.2 billion euros), local administration minister Omar Ghalawanji said on Monday.

"Syria is suffering a war that is affecting all the infrastructure of the state," Ghalawanji said in a speech to parliament, broadcast by state television.

He said the government commission for construction estimates "damage caused by acts of sabotage committed by armed terrorist groups until January 10, 2013, at more than a trillion Syrian pounds," or $11 billion.

The government spent two billion pounds ($22 million) in 2012 "on repairs to infrastructure and public buildings," Ghalawanji added.

Protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule began in March 2011 but later morphed into an insurgency after the army unleashed a brutal crackdown on dissent.

Assad's regime has systematically labelled opponents and rebels alike as foreign-backed "terrorists," blaming them for the conflict that the United Nations estimates has claimed around 70,000 lives.

burs/hkb

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130218/corrected-syria-infrastructure-damage-cost-11-bn-minister