A six-member United Nations team led by a former Syrian planning minister is drawing up a post-war reconstruction plan even as the country's civil war continues with no apparent end in sight.
A joint US-Russian push to bring together Syria's political opposition and representatives of President Bashar Assad's regime to negotiate a peaceful transition has given their work new urgency.
In a rare interview, the US-educated economist, Abdullah al-Dardari, told the Associated Press that more than two years of fighting has cost Syria at least $60bn and caused the country's oil industry to crumble. He also said that a quarter of homes have either been been destroyed or badly damaged, and that much of the country's medical units have been reuned.
He added that rebuilding plans have to be ready for whenver the conflict ends. .
"I see a glimmer of hope," said al-Dardari, who now works for a Beirut-based UN development agency. "There appears to be more readiness for a political compromise by different groups in the opposition and by officials in the government."
His plan, known as the National Agenda for the Future of Syria, is being drafted on the assumption that the war will end by 2015 and that Syria will remain territorially whole with a central government based in Damascus.