المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Ghost of famine chases Syria … who seeks to turn Syria into Somalia?

Syria in different areas that areas controlled by the regime of the opposition factions has been witnessed difficult economic and living conditions that have been worsened by the spread of COVID-19. Nearly 90 percent of the residents in Syria are under poverty in a time where hunger has been increasing day by day, according to the IMF.

It is not a secret to see the miserable conditions that the people experience as any family has no longer depends on one soruces for income, but on several sources to just secure the minimum daily needs.

Adnan Abdel-Raziq, journalist specialized in the economic field, told SOHR that the Syrian revolution is similar to the ball of ice that its impacts increase when it rolls and years pass, until most of the Syrians have lost all means of tackling the bad living conditions despite the remittances that received from their family abroad that reaches five million USD per day.

Concerning the reasons behind the increasing prices and the increase of poverty rates, Abdel-Raziq said the cash inflation has caused drop of the Syrian Lira value against the USD as one dollar that equaled 54 lira at the beginning of 2011 revolution has reached today nearly 3,500 liras is the most important reasons.

But the decline of the Lira value along with the unchanged salaries has caused the hike of prices, he said adding that the continuous devaluation of the Lira has increased rates of poverty and numbers of hungers.

Abdel-Raziq reiterated that our focus here is not attributing poverty to the political reasons that led to the decline of the Syrian local currency, the war, loss of hope to reach a solution, or even the foreign factors that has to do with the economic siege, but the main reasons is Assad regime squandering the cash revenues in 2011 by nearly 20 billion US dollars in the Central Bank on war and on funding the murder of the Syrians.

He also highlighted the absence of all the parameters of fixing the currency princes like tourism and exportations that added more to the decline of the currency due to the imbalance in the demand and supply and increase the demand on the foreign currency either by funding the importations or savings.

He added that the recent Syrian regime decisions have increased fears and the Syrians tendency to use the foreign currencies and gold due to banning the importations of the luxuries in parallel with the withdrawal of the central bank from funding even the prices of medicines which led the exchange companies close to the regime like “Al-Fadel, Al-Motahadah, Al-Haram and Al-Fouaad” to sell the US dollars with princes nearly equal similar to market princes.

He added that pumping more local currencies (printing without production) to increase the wages that hit 81 billion Lira and to pay the value of the agriculture corps like cotton and wheat has increased supply of the Lira and demand of the USD while the central bank has stopped selling the foreign currencies even for the merchants and the craftsmen.

The economic journalist explained that we have to consider the currency prices, the income value and the prices levels before speaking about the poverty and the reasons, he added, explaining as “I referred before to the decline of the Lira currency to slightly the level before its collapse and the rise of the Syrian family living costs in two months to more than 600,000 Lira after rising the food products and the transportation wages when al-Assad regime raised the prices of diesel last month that coincided with the decline of the Syrian lira from nearly 3,200 Lira to 3,400 Lira today in Damascus.”

The economic journalist has spoken about the researches presented by the studies centers in Damascus on needs of the five-member Syrian family for 1,850 million lira to live without luxury.

“Qasyoun” center in Damascus referred to the average of the living costs for a Syrian family composed of five persons are valued at 660,000 Syrian Lira during the third quarter in last year have risen to 732,000 lira in the beginning of the current year, deeming the food share stands at 376,500 Lira.

According to the economic expert, living fees have increased by end of he first quarter of the current year with rise of he prices and decline of the Lira exchange to 1.040 million Lira that were distributed on the expenditures on food, housing, health, education, clothes, furniture, transportation and communication, adding that the living fees by end of 2021 reached 1.240 million Lira while the monthly income of the Syrian citizens don’t exceed 71,000 Syrian Lira.

He attributed the crazy prices hike recently to rise of the energy resources during the past two months, adding that one liter of diesel increased from 180 to 500 Syrian Lira which impacted the prices of all the agricultural and industrial products while prices jump have been also documented in the daily consuming products and wages of the transportation.

Abdel- Raziq highlighted the exporting the Syrian food, fruits and vegetables to al-Assad partners in the war on the Syrians, Russian and Iran and exchanging them with some Syrian products that are needed for daily use, with Russian wheat, Russian and Iranian oil because al-Assad regime has no longer own foreign currency for exportation.

Meanwhile, Raghada al-Hariri, Syrian opposition activist told SOHR, that long time before the revolution, nothing enters or exists Syria without permission of the government or the ruling gang.

Lamenting a story of her friend whose husband tried to enter catching pistol for her son that he bought from Lebanon, but the regime forces have sized the weapon, though the husband is an officer but he wasn’t close to the ruling regime, wandering how billion of Lira exist Syria.

She added, the government has been all smuggled and the Syrians know, noting it is the main reason for the hunger that the Syrians have been sufferings.

“Before the revolution, my salary equaled 400 USD which values 20 USD today,’” she said adding her friend receive seven monthly salaries from her brothers abroad which are still not enough for one week as the gas prices hiked by ten doubles.

She added that the state is the main reason behind the economic crisis in Syria, because the diesel is missing while the fuel is packed in the regime tucks that come to Deraa al-Balad which is a simple neighborhood of Daraa that has been under siege for seventy days and has been under bombardments day and night.

She wandered, “doesn’t the people deserve that fuel in warming and transportation instead of using it in attacks.”

Al-Hariri explained that the corruption has been hitting the Syrian body since before the revolution, and what is happening nowadays is a result of the year-long chaos.

She concluded her comments by saying, “all I have mentioned was also in presence before the eruption of the revolution, and now the corrupted people are getting richer and the poor people are getting poorer.”

People in Syria say, “we were poor, and today we are hungry after the country’s wealth were looted and the money was smuggled abroad. Hunger isn’t a ghost; it is a reality that the Syrians suffer and touch. Caesar Law was not the main reason for hungry because it has allowed the importation of food and medicine. Any reasonable person will realize that the main reason for the ongoing economic crisis that left no water, electricity or fuel.”

On the other hand, chairman of the Syrian Reform Movement, Shoukry Shiekhany Fisher, told SOHR that over the past two years, COVID-19 led to retreat of economic, health and food security for millions, which pushed the people into the circle of severe poverty.

While the health and the economic impacts of COVID-19 were destructive, the rate of hunger rates were among the most tangible repercussions and the Syrians had the largest share of that crisis that was fed by 11 years of unfair war, he said.

Shiekhany added that anyone following the conditions of the Syrian people will realize its difficulties and sufferings due to the authority insane and regime unilateral decisions in addition to the hindering of the markets and the supplies due to the restrictions imposed on the transportation which created shortage in the food stuff and rise in the prices at the local level, especially the easily spoiled food products.

He added that the difficulties in reaching the nutrition supplies has negative impacts for incoming years on the health and the knowledge development of the children amid 11-year-siege and non-realization of the world decision makers of the difficulties that the Syrians have been going through along with the degradation of the social status and the deteriorating economic conditions.

According to the prominent politician, examples of Syrians sufferings are many, adding it is not acceptable that a breadwinner of a five-member family receives 30 USD for food, water, electricity, education, transportation, health and cleaning, not to mention buying clothes, shoes or carrying out any emergency surgeries.

Shiekhany added that the rational government doesn’t mercy and doesn’t leave the mercy of God to proceed in reference to the arrests and travel ban for those less than forty years and the long queues of hundreds who stood outside the visa immigration buildings in addition to the processes of looting and seizing the people wealth.

The Syrian politician see that for avoiding the hiking prices and the artificial shortage of commodities, the food products must flow via the borders with more freedom.

He added that Creaser law has added to the perplexity of the Syrians sufferings but not in the way that the ruling regime promulgating.

Shiekhany stressed the stalemate political situation and the blind sticking to the power were the main reasons that brough catastrophes to the country and the foreign intervention in the domestic affairs.

The Syrians suffer 90 percent of poverty rates after Syria of al-Assad has line in top of the poorest and the least income countries due to the Hiking prices and the decline of the agricultural harvest amid drought and the regime persistence on exporting foods to the neighboring countries.

The UN has warned before that Syria is threatened of the worsening hunger crisis due to the decline of this season harvest.

Also, Welthungerhilfe has warned that number of the people who depend on the humanitarian aids is increasing.

According to the FAO, 12.4 million persons in Syria struggle to find enough food.

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