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Syrian Regime Helpless to Ease Deteriorating Living Conditions in Damascus

Syrian Regime Helpless to Ease Deteriorating Living Conditions in Damascus

Sunday, 10 February, 2019 - 08:00
Vehicles queue for petrol at a gas station in Damascus, Syria, February 19, 2017. (Reuters)
Damascus – Asharq Al-Awsat
Many residents of Damascus are growing increasingly skeptical that the Syrian regime will be unable to address their deteriorating living conditions, despite its assertions and pledges otherwise.

The conditions are expected to be worse in the capital than during any time throughout the country’s war.

The crisis is mainly blamed on the regime’s inability to overcome an energy crisis and address a spike in costs.

The conditions have been compounded by over two months of severe cold that led to a shortage in domestic gas and frequent power cuts. The Syrian pound has also witnessed a record drop against the dollar, leaving the prices of goods soaring.

The regime has repeatedly said that the crisis would be resolved “in a few days,” but the conditions have only worsened. Moreover, its declaration that it was on “highest alert” to address the repercussions of the new sanctions against Syria have not led to any change in the humanitarian crisis.

Qusay, a bank employee, dismissed the regime’s pledges, revealing to Asharq Al-Awsat that it was near impossible to obtain a gas canister for house use.

“It has been over two months and the situation is getting worse,” he said.

He also dismissed regime claims that ships were docking and unloading their cargo at ports before later being targeted in strikes.

“These are all lies. They are better off being frank with the people and informing them that they do not have the means to provide the people with their most basic needs,” he stressed.

The fuel crisis became worse amid discussions to impose new sanctions on the regime. Damascus has sought to shirk the sanctions by recently signing a long-term strategic cooperation agreement with Iran.

Economic experts told Asharq Al-Awsat that all of the regime’s attempts to avoid the sanctions through Iran will be futile.

Iran has been suffering from sanctions even before it signed the deal with Syria and it is bearing the consequences of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal last year, they noted.

It can now barely provide for its own people, so how could it possibly ease the crisis in Syria? they wondered.

One economist revealed that Iran’s financial support for the regime had ceased over a year ago, just when Tehran’s own economic crisis worsened.

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