Markets in 2022 | Dramatic price increases and many commodities no longer available across Syria • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Markets in 2022 | Dramatic price increases and many commodities no longer available across Syria

The prices of most of the food commodities, whether subsidized or not, have risen considerably since the beginning of 2022 amid shortages and disappearance of many products on the markets due to  merchants’ monopoly policies backed by various controlling authorities across Syria.

In Idlib and its countryside, and in north and west Aleppo countryside that are under control of “Hayaat Tahrir Al-Sham” (HTS) and Turkey-backed factions, the markets suffer from the absence and shortage of some basic commodities while the prices of basic commodities have risen at different rates. The markets experienced insufficient quantities of the most important essentials like sugar, flour, margarine, and vegetable oil.

The people living in areas under control of HTS in Idlib and its countryside and parts of west Aleppo countryside have suffered since the end of February from severe shortage of sugar after exporting it via Bab Al-Hawa crossing at the borders with Turkey and the termination of the sugar exports contracts as claimed by the “Salvation Government.”

After announcing the entry of sugar shipments in Idlib and its countryside via “Al-Hawa” crossing, the “Salvation Government” has set the price of one kilogram of sugar at 0.90 US dollars which equals 11.50 Turkish Lira. But, the stockpiling of commodities by merchants and shortage of sugar on the market caused price increase, reaching 20 TL in some shops despite  the Salvation Government’s price cap. On the other hand, civilians have accused HTS and the Salvation Government of creating the sugar crisis in the region.

Also, civilians in areas in Idlib and its countryside and the north and countryside of Aleppo have complained of  shortage of some other commodities such as oil and flour and the increase of prices to high levels .

SOHR activists have monitored rise of the prices of several commodities compared to their prices in December 2021:

  • The prices of one kilogram of sugar range between 12 to 20 TL in areas in Idlib and its countryside.
  • The prices of one kilogram of sugar range between 10 to 15 TL in areas in areas in north Aleppo and its countryside.

Meanwhile, there is acute shortage of sugar and it is difficult for the civilians to find little portions of it. Previously, one kilogram of sugar was sold at an average of eight TL.

SOHR activists have documented also nearly 25 percent rise of other commodities like the fuel and bread in areas in Idlib and its countryside and north Aleppo countryside in Turkish Lira compared to their prices since early 2022.

In Idlib and its countryside:

  • Petrol: nearly 13.91 TL per litre  compared to 11.18 TL.
  • Gasoline: 13.58 TL per litre compared to 11.7 TL.
  • One gas cylinder: 176 TL compared to 156 TL.
  • One pack of bread that contains eight loaves: 5 TL, compared to pack of nine loaves before 2020 after the “Salvation Government” decided to reduce the weight from 750 grams to 650 grams.

In areas in north Aleppo countryside:

  • Petrol: 13.60 TL per litre compared to 11.92 before 2022.
  • Gasoline: 13.16 TL per litre compared to 12.22 TL.

SOHR activists have also documented the prices of some food commodities in areas in Idlib and its countryside in  Turkish Lira:

  • Lamb meat: 60 TL per kg.
  • Chicken: 37 TL per kg.
  • Flour: 8 TL per kg.
  • Tea: 115 TL per kg.
  • Rice: 10 TL per kg.
  • Bulgar: 7 TL per kg.
  • Tomato: 10 TL per kg.
  • Cucumber: 6 TL per kg.
  • Green paper: 5 TL per kg.
  • Beans: 3 TL per kg.
  • Molokhiya: 45 TL per kg.
  • Sweet photos: 7 TL per kg.

For more than a week, the house of a 42-year-old displaced women from Deir Hassan in north Idlib countryside who is known with her initials as (H. Y.) has had no sugar because shops had run out of sugar. The lady told SOHR that she tried several times to buy few portions of sugar but it was not found in most of the nearby shops.

(H. Y.) says stockpiling  up the product is behind its shortage, adding that the owner of a shop nearby her house has a 50-kilogram-bag of sugar but he refused to open it or sell it waiting for the prices to increase.

“Beside the regime, now most of the merchants in north Syria who exploit the halt of sugar exports are behind the civilians’ famine,” she said.

She explains that cost of living in general has become unbearable and the living conditions are from bad to worse amid absence of the concerned authorities..

As for the areas under control of the regime and its proxy militia, the market in most of the provinces witnessed shortage of some food commodities especially  vegetable oil as one litre of oil reached 16,000 SYL.

SOHR activists have documented a list of prices of several food essentials and subsidized commodities in different provinces that are sold in Syrian Lira. But the prices are subject to daily changes due to the merchants’ monopoly policies, change of the SYL value against the USD and the imposition of taxes on the merchants on the military checkpoints. Here is a price list for some commodities:

  • Animal margarine: 19,000 SYL per kg
  • Chickpeas: 5,600 SYL per kg
  • Bulgur: 4,200 SYL per kg
  • Kabsah rice: 6,100 SYL per kg
  • Spanish rice: 4,300 SYL per kg
  • Egyptian rice: 5,200 SYL per kg
  • Rice: 3,700 SYL per kg
  • Beef: 27,000 SYL per kg
  • Chicken: 10,500 SYL per kg
  • Plate of egg: 1,300 SYL
  • Cheese: 12,5000 hit SYL per kg
  • Milk: 2,300 SYL per kg

According to the official vegetables price list  that was published by the Ministry of Trade and government-led Consumer Protection Authority on March 5, the prices of some types of vegetables were as follow:

  • Potato: 1,600 SYL per kg
  • Tomato: 1,500 SYL per kg
  • Onion: 450 SYL per kg
  • Cucumber: 1,800 SYL per kg
  • Cabbage: 350 SYL per kg
  • Cauliflower: 700 SYL per kg
  • Carrot: 750 SYL per kg

Concerning the prices of fuel (without using smart cards):

  • Fuel: 4,500 SYL per litre
  • Gasoline: 3,200 SYL per litre

Meanwhile, the value of the Syrian lira against the USD continues to fall, as one USD equals 3,770 SYL now, according to the latest update on March 7.

When comparing the current prices in all province that are under control of the Syrian regime and the proxy factions to the previous official price lists, we will find limited rise in the prices of some commodities like vegetable oil and beef while the prices of vegetables, fruits and supplies are close to the former prices.

In areas under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the “Autonomous Administration” in north-east Syria, the prices of some food commodities and subsidized essentials have witnessed considerable rise when compared to the same products prices before 2022:

  • Vegetable oil: nearly 32,000 SYL per litre in Al-Raqqah city compared to 22,000 SYL per litre.
  • Margarine: 11,000 SYL per litre compared to 8,500 SYL per litre.

SOHR activists have also documented that the prices of fuel in Al-Raqqah city have doubled few weeks before enforcing the decision of the “Autonomous Administration”-run Customs Administration of closing the small fuel stations and other stations that help in smuggling the fuel to the areas under control of Turkey-backed factions as gasoline reached nearly 1,700 SYL per litre while it was sold at 400 SYL per litre.

Also, the prices of several good commodities have witnessed  rising in prices, including sugar, tea, olive oil, rice, grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Meanwhile, the region has also witnessed severe shortage in flour and the production of bread in the bread bakeries.

It is worth noting that many factors have contributed to the rise of the prices of most basic commodities in Syria, including the collapse of the Turkish and the Syrian lira against the US dollar, the repercussions of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as  stockpiling of commodities, and restriction of trade movements by the various authorities that control Syria.

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