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Having Received Syria’s Struggle, al-Assad Is Mired in Financial Woes

Most Syrians now commit their days to discovering gasoline to cook dinner and heat their houses, and standing in lengthy traces for rationed pita. Energy shortages are fixed, with some areas getting only some hours of electrical energy a day, barely sufficient for individuals to maintain their cellphones charged.

Determined ladies have taken to promoting their hair to feed their households.

“I needed to promote my hair or my physique,” a mom of three stated not too long ago in a hair salon close to Damascus, talking on situation of anonymity, like others interviewed for this text, for worry of arrest.

Her husband, a carpenter, was in poor health and solely sporadically employed, she stated, and she or he wanted heating oil for the home and winter coats for her youngsters.

With the $55 she bought for her hair, which will probably be used to make wigs, she purchased two gallons of heating oil, garments for her youngsters and a roast rooster, the primary her household had tasted in three months.

She cried from disgrace for 2 days afterward.

The falling forex implies that docs now earn the equal of lower than $50 a month. The top of the docs’ syndicate stated not too long ago that many had been going overseas for work, to Sudan and Somalia, among the many uncommon nations that enable straightforward entry for Syrians however neither of which has a robust financial system. Different professionals earn a lot much less.

“Individuals’s concern, greater than the rest, is meals and gasoline,” stated a Damascus musician. “Every little thing is abnormally costly and persons are terrified to open their mouths.”

The causes are a number of and overlapping: widespread harm and displacement from the struggle; sweeping Western sanctions on Mr. al-Assad’s authorities and associates; a banking collapse in neighboring Lebanon, the place rich Syrians stored their cash; and lockdowns to fight the coronavirus.

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