Imminent Bread Crisis Looms as Flour Shortage Hits Idleb City

Concerns are mounting among locals and observers around the possibility of a man-made food crisis targeting the rebel-held city, Zeitoun writes

The council of Idleb city warned last month about the halt of work at bakeries due to a shortage of flour, pointing to difficulties which the sector faces in securing the product following the closure of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, noting the only solution to the issue is to provide support.

Director of the bakeries office in the Idleb city council Mazen Zedani told Zeitoun: “We are monitoring the bakery sector and following up on its work in order to make high-quality bread while resolving the problems, if any, and securing all their requirements.”

Zedani added the bakery sector in Idleb city continues to suffer from a lack of support despite the fact that smaller cities and towns in the countryside of the province are receiving help.

He said there was a lack of reserves of flour and fuel, which can only last for 10 days, adding that the bakeries administration feared the borders with Turkey would be cut off, as has happened recently.

Sushi Mardikhi, of the bakeries department in Idleb city, previously described the situation of the city bakeries as poor, warning that they could stop production at any moment unless they were supported. A shutdown would effect countless residents, including the families of martyrs and wounded and those with special needs, which the department of bakeries guarantees bread. The department has called on partnered organizations to review their support to the Idleb city bakeries and to assist and rehabilitate large damaged bakeries in order to equalize the price between the city and the countryside.

In the same context, the head of the Idleb city council, Ismail Andani, told Zeitoun: “Previously, the NGOs in general refrained from supporting the bakery sector in Idleb under the excuse that the military groups controlled the city. We are now communicating with a number of groups and we hope to bring support for the bakery sector in the coming period.”

He said that the city council is unable to support the bakery sector at this time because of its low capacities, adding that “therefore there is no alternative to the NGOs supporting the bakery sector in the coming period, until things settle down and sufficient financial support for the bakery sector and other sectors is secured.”

Meanwhile, Karmou Saad Eddin, a resident of Idleb city, said that the price of a packet of bread has increased compared with the regular daily income, causing a burden on residents. He added that the quality of the bread is relatively good, but that it is also not available on holidays, while there is a good amount on other days.

Residents fear a similar fate to areas of the Damascus and Homs countryside, where locals faced siege and starvation at the hands of the regime amid international silence. In Idleb, some supplies have already been cut, even if limited, in what some observers have labeled a war of submission which has begun to unfold.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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