The Ministry of Economy and Resources of the “Rescue Government” issued a few days ago a decree setting the price of the one kilogram of bread in US dollars.
“Based on requirements of the public interest and due to the decline of the Syrian pound’s exchange rate against the US dollar, the price of one kilogram of bread is $0.39,” said the statement, a copy of which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights obtained on the 17th of January 2019.
The decision came after the rapid collapse of the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the US dollar, and the high operational cost of producing bread in the Syrian north, where prices of most of the basic materials used in bread production have increased, and the prices of these materials are also linked to the US dollar such as flour and fuel and they have increased in the last few days, where the price of one liter of refined gasoline reached 850 Syrian pounds, which is essential for the operation of furnaces.
This increase in the price is not only caused by the decline in the Syrian pound’s exchange rate against the US dollar, but it also involves several other reasons, like stopping the import of fuel from the Syria Democratic Forces’ controlled areas; after the start of “Peace Spring” battle, in addition to the monopoly of some crisis traders for the material, and as a result, the bread-producing furnaces in areas of the rescue government are affected by it.
Local sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that bread shops in several towns in the northern Idlib countryside did not respond to the decision issued by the “rescue government”, and that the price of the bread bag remains the same in several towns, where the bag of bread that weighs about 800 grams is sold for up to 400 Syrian pounds.
The sources stated that there was no monitoring of this decision by the “Rescue Government” or follow-up to the implementation of the decision in shops at its controlled areas, also the quality of the sold bread is low but the civilians are forced to buy it because it is a major and indispensable material.
The government has been controlling all main furnaces since the end of the military operations of “Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham” against several factions and it got rid of them, which has helped the “Rescue Government” to control most aspects of the life including the furnaces, impose royalties on the humanitarian organizations supporting them, and conclude contracts with these organizations through intermediaries.
The Ministry of Economy and Resources of the Rescue Government is currently determining the price of bread and specifications of the weight of the single bag of bread and the number of loaves in it, and it forces the bread producing furnaces to compliance with them in line with what it calls the public interest of civilians.
However, the price and specifications of bread still don’t go along with the situation of civilians in the Syrian north, which is witnessing a massive displacement, and most of the people there are living in a deteriorating living and material condition.