Amid congestion at bread bakeries and petrol stations | Civilians await in long lines in front of immigration and passport offices in regime-held areas
As the worrying phenomenon of long lines of residents in front of various governmental institutions and public facilities across regime-held areas tops the events in recent time, SOHR sources have reported congestion in front of the offices of immigration and passport department, as many people wish they could escape from the sever economic hardship and deteriorating security situation throughout areas controlled by the Syrian regime. Meanwhile, “brokers” in the immigration and passport offices are blackmailing the residents who want to issue expedited passports through asking for large sums of money for facilitating procedures. Furthermore, the Syrian regime has exploited the situation to collect more money in return for issuing passports.
SOHR activists in the capital, Damascus, have reported seeing long lines of civilians waiting for getting their passports in the back street of the immigration and passport office in Al-Baramekah area. In addition, immigration and passport offices in Daraa, Al-Suwaidaa, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and Hama have experienced unprecedented congestion by people attempting to issue passports.
This comes with disastrous economic and living conditions and escalating security chaos, while the Syrian regime keep clinging only to power.
In early December, SOHR sources reported that the maximum monthly wage of a worker in regime-held areas reached 300,000 SYL, equivalent to 85 USD, while the maximum monthly salary of an employee in regime’s governmental departments reached 230,000 SYL, equivalent to 65 USD. However, the minimum expenses of a medium-class family of five exceeded one million SYL every month, equivalent to 285 USD. Accordingly, most of the families who had no other sources of income incurred debts.
On the other hand, the Syrian regime continued mishandling the chronic crises in areas under its control, such as the sever economic hardship and disastrous living conditions, especially with the beginning of winter, justifying the deteriorating situation by the sanctions imposed on the regime under “Caesar Act”, describing such procedures as a “global conspiracy on Syria”.
In this context, SOHR activists monitored increase of selling private properties by civilians in regime-held areas in order to be able to secure their essential needs. Syrian civilians started to sell their properties a few months after the beginning of the Syrian revolution and the start of conflicts, military battles and crises, exactly after 2012. However, the selling of such properties alarmingly increased in the recent time, especially in areas which experienced military operations.
According to SOHR sources, most of these properties were sold to people living abroad for years. On the other hand, the money which the families got by selling their properties could secure basic essentials to these families for no more one year, especially since most of these families had already incurred debts. In addition, these families were plagued with unaffordable and prohibitively high prices of essential products, including food, water, medicine and heating allowances and subsidies.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, warn against the worrying phenomenon of civilians selling of their own properties in regime-held areas with the Syrian regime clinging only to power, disregarding the sufferings of the Syrian people. We also renew our appeal to the international community not to abandon their responsibility and obligations to finding a lasting solution to the tragedy of millions of Syrians.