The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Stifling crises in regime-held areas | Worsening transportation services and energy crises in Damascus and Latakia deepen civilians’ sufferings

Areas controlled by the Syrian regime are hit by fuel crisis which has negatively affected transportation and most services. With the outset of every winter and summer, the hours of energy rationing are also on the rise, promoting a few people with good income to install photovoltaic panels to generate electricity to avoid waiting for the government to fulfil promises of improving electricity.


All the Syrian provinces are hit by transportation and electricity crises which have recently escalated and worsened further in Damascus, Rif Dimashq and Latakia. Traffic in the capital, Damascus, and Rif Dimashq is paralysed almost completely, particularly since the Damascus Provincial Council issued a decision to cut Damascus’ diesel allocations to 30 %, suspend the subsidised fuel allocations for public buses and reduce the subsidised fuel distributions of internal transport to one day only.


All these factors have negatively affected the transportation sector in Damascus. Although the capital alone needs more than 500 buses, only 130 buses are available to the private sector, while the number of buses available to the public sector has been reduced from 100 to 60. The number of buses has been reduced under the pretext of “saving and rationing fuel and diesel.”


People complain about this decision, especially after fuel prices have dramatically increased. The price of “octane petrol 90″ has risen from 2,500 to 3,500 SYP. The price of “octane 95” has reached 4,000 SYP after it was 3,000 SYP, while commercial diesel price has increased from 1,700 to 2,500 SYP, under the pretext of “soaring prices of fuel all over the world.”


SOHR has gauged the opinions of some civilians regarding the worsening transport crisis and lack of workable solutions.


Speaking to SOHR, a civilian known by his initials as A. Y. says, “the decision issued by Damascus Provincial Council casts further crippling burdens on civilians who are already mired in overlapping crises. This decision is not in the interest of civilians, puts them to trouble and difficulties and pushes up the expenses of civilians owing to the lack of public means of transportation and unaffordable fees of private taxies.”


Another civilian known by his initials as A. A says that the lack of transportation in Damascus has adversely affected workers, forcing them to take cars and buses used to transport goods between the countryside and the city in order to get to their workplace, especially after public transport mini-buses are being decommissioned.


The man adds, “buses are overcrowded with passengers, as the capacity of a bus reaches only 45 passengers, but it is currently holding nearly 100 passengers.”


A civilian known by his initials as H. Y. from Al-Jadidah area in Damascus points out that the taxi fare is 3,000 SYP at day rate and double that at night, amid a lack of oversight by traffic police. Moreover, on Fridays and Saturdays, public traffic is almost paralysed due to the diesel shortage.


A civilian known by his initials as M. K. call on the relevent authorities and officials to hold drivers accountable in Karaj Al-Sitt area, who work on Diyabiyah, Khirbet Al-Ward and Husayniyah lines, for exploiting civilians, as they force the passenger to pay fees of 1,000 instead of 400 SYP.


On the other hand, a woman from Latakia province known by her initials as S. D. has told SOHR that most people in Latakia’s neighbourhoods suffer from water cuts due to ongoing power outages. According to the woman, electricity is available in her neighbourhood for only 10 to 15 minutes throughout the daylight hours.


The woman calls upon relevant authorities to distribute electricity fairly and equally for each neighbourhood; some neighbourhoods in Latakia are supplied with electricity for four hours a day, while the majority of alleys and neighbourhoods have no access to electricity and are hit by almost total power outages.


It is worth noting that all areas across Syria are hit by stifling and overlapping crises in light of lack of workable solutions by concerned authorities to ease the civilians’ burdens.