HTS-held areas | Watad company sets fuel prices in US dollar replacing plummeting Turkish lira • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

HTS-held areas | Watad company sets fuel prices in US dollar replacing plummeting Turkish lira

As the Turkish lira exchange rate against the US dollar continues to plummet, Watad Petroleum company has switched to US dollar instead of the Turkish lira in areas held by HTS and factions in Idlib province, SOHR activists reported.

According to Syrian Observatory sources, watad has obliged station owners to purchase screens to show new fuel prices in US dollars.

Therefore, the new hike of prices of fuel and switching currency to US dollar have grown widespread popular discontent across Idlib.

The fuel prices have been set as follows:

• Imported petrol: 0,86 $
• Diesel (premium quality): 0,812 $
• Diesel (high quality): 0,641 $
• Refined diesel: 0,504 $
• A gas cylinder: ( 12 ) $

On December 1, SOHR reported that Watad petroleum company continued raising the price of fuel almost daily in Idlib city and countryside, which are under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham. These daily price rises affect all civilians in these areas, especially employers and owners of shops, factories, and industrial workshops.

With the successive increases in the prices of fuel, including gas, petrol, and oil, the owners of many shops, factories, and industrial workshops who depend mainly on fuel see their profit margin decreasing dramatically. The high prices of fuel have also affected other people working in the transport business, whose income cannot cover their daily needs.

In testimony to SOHR, a minibus driver known by his initials as A. A. from Jabal Shashaboo area in the western countryside of Hama working on Bab al-Hawa road said, “the increase in fuel prices affected my work greatly and my income does not cover my family’s needs. I was forced to raise the fee after the price of oil had been doubled in a few months. A trip of 30 kilometers long costs over 250 TL. I noticed that many drivers of microbuses and cars stopped working in the recent time due to this increase in transportation fees which have become unaffordable for civilians wanting to reach areas on the Syria-Turkey border, Bab Al-Hawa crossing, or any other areas in the northern countryside of Idlib. Many factors, including the high cost of repairing cars, where the cheapest piece of spare parts costs 50 TL at least. In addition, the roads are unpaved and many drivers suffer from traffic jams for long hours. All these factions have affected my income and it does not meet my family’s daily essential needs.”

Another man known by his initials as S. M., who has been displaced from Murek town in the northern countryside of Hama to refugee camps in Deir Hassan area in the northern countryside of Idlib and works as a motorcycle mechanic, has shared his experience with SOHR. The man says, “I need petrol-operating generators and other tools for my work. I need more than five litres of petrol daily, which costs 50 TL. All tools and spare parts are affected by the increase in fuel prices and the unstable exchanging rate of currency against the US dollar, so I have had to double the cost of repairing motorcycles. The main reasons behind this crisis are the stockpiling of fuel, domination, and monopoly of major petroleum on markets, and use in the Turkish currency in the region, which has led to the current economic hardship. I have lost many clients due to the high cost of repairs and unaffordable prices of fuel, as well as low salaries and wages. However, I am forced to continue in this business, as I have no other profession or career to get higher income.”

It is worth noting that the northwest Syria region has experienced low traffic due to the unaffordable prices of fuel which also affected all shops, industrial workshops, restaurants, and bread bakeries, as well as agriculture activities. Meanwhile, Watad company, which is a major source of income to Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham, continues stockpiling fuel and hiking its prices.

On December 1, Watad Company published a post on its page on Facebook announcing its latest prices of fuel, which were set as follows:

Petrol: 12.05 TL per litre

Oil: 11.21 TL per litre

Gas cylinder: 168 TL

The company justified the new prices by the decrease in the exchange rate of the Turkish lira against the US dollar.

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