Traboulsi paid nearly $400,000 to renovate their restaurant, Julia Palace, which suffered major damage in the war. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Four years after the military brought most of the city back under Assad's control, the government is launching its first big reconstruction effort in Homs, planning to erect hundreds of apartment buildings in three neighborhoods in the devastated center of the city.It is a small start to a massive task of rebuilding Syria, where seven years of war, airstrikes and barrel bombs have left entire cities and infrastructure a landscape of rubble. The government estimates reconstruction will cost some $200 billion and last 15 years. The plan, to begin later this year, focuses on three of the city's most destroyed districts – Bab Amr, Al-Sultanieh and Jobar – and will rebuild 465 buildings, able to house 75,000 people, at a cost of $4 billion, according to Homs' governor, Talal al-Barrazi.It was not immediately clear how many housing units that entails – meaning individual apartments – but assuming there is on average five people per household, that would be around 15,000 units. That's under half of the 35,000 housing units that were estimated to have been destroyed in Homs. And it's a small fraction of the 1 million housing units Barrazi said Syria will need.Assad's government controls more than half of Syria, including the largest cities and main population centers.According to U.N. assessments, more than half the buildings are damaged in 16 of Raqqa's 24 districts.
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