The Syrian government employs up to half of the country's workforce, a sharp rise since its conflict erupted in 2011, devastating the private sector, an economic weekly reported Wednesday.
The Syria Report quoted Labour Minister Khalef al-Abdullah as saying the state had 2.1 million people on its payroll.
“If correct, this number would represent an increase of 61 percent in the space of four years, given that in 2010 civil servants numbered 1.36 million out of a total workforce of 5.5 million,” the website said.
It said Abdullah’s figure would “indicate that today up to half of all working age Syrians are employed by the Syrian government”, as opposed to a quarter before the bloody conflict, which has sent millions flooding out of the country.
The Syria Report said the jump could be explained in part by the fact that the government now includes soldiers in its calculation for public service employees, unlike in the past.
It was unclear whether the figure also included pro-regime militias that have supplemented the army, which numbered over 300,000 at the start of the war but have suffered serious losses.
In addition, the government has also “formally added to the public service an average of around 75,000 people per year”, it said.