AMMAN - Syria's economy, rocked by four years of civil war, is shrinking fast as industrial and agricultural output falls, leaving almost two thirds of the population in extreme poverty, according to a UN sponsored report released on Wednesday.
The study, conducted by the Damascus based-Syrian Centre for Policy Research and commissioned by the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates of a 40 percent contraction in GDP since the start the conflict in 2011.
Almost half of Syria's five million labor force is unemployed.
"The tempo of contraction in the economy has accelerated now," Syrian Center researcher Zaki Mehchy told Reuters.
Losses were estimated at $143.8 billion, a figure the report said was based on estimated damage to residential and state buildings. Experts said it was too early to ascertain more accurately as the heaviest hit areas are still combat zones.