Amid government’s misdealing of dilapidated economy | Member of People's Assembly praises smugglers for securing unavailable products in Homs markets • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Amid government’s misdealing of dilapidated economy | Member of People’s Assembly praises smugglers for securing unavailable products in Homs markets

The humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating greatly in light of the skyrocketing prices of fuel and household gas in all areas under the control of the Syrian regime, particularly in Homs province.


SOHR sources in Homs have reported that the price of a barrel of diesel on black markets has risen to nearly 1,300,000 SYP, while a litre of petrol is sold for 7,000 SYP.


Meanwhile, sources have reported that the residents have not received text messages informing them to replace empty cylinders of household gas at state-subsidised prices for over 100 days; this, in turn, has raised the cost of replacing a gas cylinder at duty free stores to nearly 200,000 SYP. This coincides with the closure of routes used for smuggling goods and fuel between Lebanon and Syria following disagreements between the 4th Division and checkpoints of the military security checkpoints in west Homs province countryside.


After the closure of routes used for smuggling for over two weeks, a group of smugglers started working on transporting some foodstuffs and gas cylinders from Lebanon to Syria using motorcycles. Such operations have partially contributed to decreasing prices of some products, where the price of a gas cylinder has decreased to 150,000 SYP.


Meanwhile, smugglers and members of the 4th Division has reached a new deal, according to which they transport products from Lebanon to Syria comfortably in return for paying ransoms.


As the 4th Division has prevented smugglers from crossing with smuggled products into Syria, smugglers have depended on the residents of Zita village to transport their stuffs to Arjoun area, then to Kherbet Al-Hamam in the western countryside of Homs. Recently, Kherbet Al-Hamam area has become more akin to a commercial market where foodstuffs, petrol and gas cylinders smuggled from Lebanon are available.


Local sources have reported that some residents in Zita town transport products smuggled from Lebanon across Qutaynah lake using primitive boats, so that they can deliver these stuffs to smugglers without crossing through the 4th Division’s checkpoints. The smugglers later deliver these products to Homs city’s markets.


The sources have confirmed that the price of a gas cylinder in Zita village approximates 65,000 SYP, while it is sold in Homs city for 150,000 SYP. Also, a 5-litre bottle of cooking oil is sold in Zita village for 47,000 SYP and in Homs city for 58,000 SYP.


In this context, a member of the People’s Assembly of Syria posted a picture on his official page showing him with a group of smugglers with a caption which reads, “thanks for your efforts, as you serve the residents and cover up the failure of the government and its foolish cards.”


Social media reacted with the post, where some expressed their gratitude to those “smugglers” whose efforts have been more effective than those of the officials of the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, as they described. On the other hand, some social media activists expressed their rejection of such practices, accusing officials of “covering up illicit drug business by portraying the smuggling operations as if they are confined to smuggling foodstuffs and gas cylinders.”


It is worth noting that the regime’s Customs Department has announced that it works on chasing fuel merchants on black markets in Homs neighbourhoods, at a time when goods are publicly offered for sale at Tartus-Homs junction and Homs-Hama highway at higher prices than those set by the regime Ministry of Supplies. However, these merchants have not held accountable.