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These super-rich Syrians are waiting to return if war ever ends

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Beirut - The destruction of Syria looks as total as in any civil war of the last century: whole towns have been leveled, road and water links severed, schools and hospitals in ruins, millions of people killed or exiled and the $60bn economy left for dead.

Yet, with the conflict in its sixth year and bombs hitting government-controlled areas that previously were barely touched while airstrikes pound neighbourhoods held by rebels, the prospect of rebuilding the country isn’t daunting Syrian real estate investor Waleed Zaabi. If only a peace settlement weren’t so elusive, he said.

"Everything is easy once you have stability," said Zaabi, 51, sipping Arabic coffee at the hotel he owns in Dubai. He described the negotiations taking place in Geneva, in which he’s been involved, as just “a movie”.

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