المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Unaffordable fuel prices | People of Idlib resort to almond husk for heating

Every year, winter comes to place extra burden on people in north-western Syria, especially with the high prices and shortage of fuel, as well as the deteriorating economic situations and locals’ poor living conditions.

 

Some families risk their lives, collecting wood from the remaining bushes and forests in Latakia countryside, western Idlib, and Afrin in Aleppo countryside, as these areas are close to regime-controlled areas. Although bushes and forests around Afrin are far from regime-controlled areas, old landmines and war leftovers still pose threat to the safety and lives of these families.

 

On the other hand, opposition factions dominate the sector of cutting down of trees, as they are located in military areas. These factions sell wood for high prices, in addition to seizing large amounts of wood from civilians for “approaching these military areas”, as these civilians try to secure wood supplies needed during winter. As a result, some civilians are forced to collect plastic, garbage and rubber tires in order to used them for heating.

 

Recently, almond husk-burner stoves are good alternatives to the traditional heating ways and stoves, especially with the high prices of various forms of fuel. It is worth noting that almond husk-burner stoves are made in north-western Syria in large workshops with a technology enables the machine to stuff the stove continuously with almond husk, using electricity.

 

Despite the high prices of almond husk-burner stoves which exceed 120 USD each, the residents pounce to buy them, as one stove uses only 700 kg of almond husk all winter round. A ton of almond husk is sold for 120 to 180 USD, at a time when a wood-burner stove uses three tons of wood which costs more than 350 USD.

 

Moreover, other stoves use oil with average cost of nearly 300 USD each during winter, which spurs families to buy almond husk-burner stoves, since they are relatively cheaper and safer than other stoves that work on fuel. In addition, the almond husk-burner stoves do not cause toxic or dangerous gases like coal does.

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