Despite journey’s high cost | Civilian exodus from regime-held areas escalating, in light of regime’s calls for return of refugees
Despite the repeated calls by the Syrian regime for the return of refugees, who left Syria in the past years, fleeing from the war and the regime’s strict security measures and repression, and despite the efforts by regime media and countries supporting the Syrian regime to show that Syria has become free of terrorism and turned into a safe place to live in, after the regime’s control of more than two thirds of the country, the number of refugees who have been forced to return to Syria due to difficulties they have faced in asylum countries, particularly countries neighbouring Syria is too few.
In this context, Syrian Observatory activists have monitored that the displacement of civilians from regime-held areas is escalating alarmingly, as this wave is similar to the earlier major displacement wave which has reached its peak in the period between 2012 and 2016. However, the recent wave is away from media unlike the previous wave. According to SOHR sources, a large number of civilians, especially craftsmen merchants and university graduates, have left to Egypt in the past few months, as well as the start of another major waves of displacement of Syrian civilians to Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Sudan and some Gulf States.
SOHR sources have also confirmed that tens of young men and families leave to areas under the control of opposition factions in north-west and north-east Syria on a daily basis in order to reach Turkey. Despite the strict security measures against the Syrians who attempt to enter Turkish territory, tens of Syrian people manage to enter Turkey daily. These people aim to reach European countries where they can seek asylum, disregarding the risks they may face on the routes used for smuggling and the large sums of money they pay to smugglers.
It is worth noting that some of the Syrian people who have fled to Egypt intended to continue their way to Libya in order to find a way to Europe by sea. The recent major wave of civilians’ displacement from regime-held areas indicates to the people’s fear of the deteriorating security and economic situation in Syria, as well as the acute shortage of basic essentials.
On September 6, SOHR sources reported that the dire living conditioned in regime-held areas, which led to noticeable escalation of the escape of young people and families from regime-controlled areas to SDF-held areas in the past few months, as they looked forward to reaching areas under the control of Turkish-backed factions, and crossing to Turkey and then to Europe.
According to SOHR sources, tens of families and young men crossed from regime controlled areas to SDF-held areas with the help of smugglers, before they reached to Turkey and European states. As a result, regime forces stationed at checkpoints at the entrances of Deir Ezzor prevented passengers from other Syrian provinces from entering Deir Ezzor city in the recent time, where they clamped down on these passengers through asking them about their destination and investigating them.
SOHR sources reported earlier that the areas under the control of the Syrian regime throughout Syria were struggling with poor transportation services in light of the ongoing fuel crisis. In addition, the residents in theses area were still suffering from the acute shortage of bread and water, as the long lines in front of bread bakeries and petrol stations and in taxi and bus stations topped the events. The regime-held areas were experiencing almost-complete lack of means of public transportation, while regime government was unable to put an end to these crises which plagued the Syrians.
On the other hand, the markets in Damascus experienced a new increase in the prices of chicken and chicken meat which became 30% higher than the previous prices. The new prices of chicken, chicken meat and meals and other essential products were set as follows:
- Chicken: 7,500 SYL per kilo
- Chicken meat: 10,500 SYL per kilo
- Chicken drumsticks: 11,000 SYL per kilo
- Chicken livers: 11,000 SYL per kilo
- Chicken thighs: 10,500 SYL per kilo
- Chicken wings: 7,000 SYL per kilo
- Roasted chicken: 23,000 SYL per kilo
- Grilled chicken: 24,000 SYL per kilo
- Boneless chicken: 26,000 SYL per kilo
- Broasted chicken: 28,000 SYL per kilo
- Shawrma: over 35,000 SYL per kilo (this price equaled a half of a government employee’s salary)
- Gas cylinder: 105,000 SYL (and it was available only in black markets)
Moreover, the prices of canned food and legumes increased by nearly 15% regarding last week’s prices.
It is worth noting that the selling rate of the Syrian lira against the dollar reached 3,465 SYP and the buying rate was 3,415 SYP, while 4,054 SYP for selling and 4,118 SYP for buying against the euro.