Assad’s government has announced that Syrian foreign commerce and import is dead, due to the lack of foreign currency needed to perform the operations.
With this, Assad’s regime has entered into economic death. It can no longer finance its import operations with foreign currency, which it has used to purchase the instruments of death over the last four years. Nor can the regime any longer export its products since it lost its control over the country’s oil and agricultural sources. The regime is further unable to secure necessary transportation routes after committing multiple crimes against humanity across the country. Furthermore, the regime can no longer obtain loans from its main creditors, Iran and Russia, now that its situation has become clear to them.
The economic collapse was effectively declared by Assad’s government when it banned all imports. The move indicates the state treasury is empty and that Assad’s war against Syrians has cost more than the 24 billion dollars surplus that was sitting in the Syrian Central Bank on the day that Syrians rebelled against tyranny and demanded their freedom.
In a meeting with the board of directors of the Damascus countryside chamber of commerce, Wael al-Halki, the Syrian prime minister, assured that the government is waiting for the private and public sectors to start their commercial and industrial production to provide the market’s needs and new jobs opportunities that guarantee social stability.
To the merchants and industrialists, Halki provided extra commitments to reshape the new features of Syrian industry. He promised to overcome the effects of war and prepare for the recovery and reconstruction phases. Meanwhile, the Syrian air force and army were bombing the production centers around Damascus.
Ossama Mustafa, the head of the Damascus countryside chamber of commerce, called on the prime minister to provide all the necessities for the citizens’ livelihoods, and to stop the operations that paralyze economic mobility around the capital.
At the same time, Humam Aljaza’iri, the Minister of Economy and Foreign Commerce, went to the Damascus chamber of commerce to try to sell the same idea to the merchants who were prohibited from importing. Two months ago, the minister had promised numerous steps that would help improve Syrians’ economic situation and help improve their ability to deal with the difficulties of life.
Muhiddin Alfarra, the head of the Damascus chamber of commerce, sent a deceptive message to the media, saying the ban is only temporary. He stated that Aljaza’iri promised that they would not completely ban all imports, and that they would once again allow the import of key products by requests from merchants and after providing certain products in the market.
During their meeting with Aljaza’iri, the members of Damascus chamber of commerce discussed the appropriate methods to mitigate the destructive effects on small businesses and to improve agricultural and industrial production. They also discussed how to support industrial facilities affected by current events. But they failed to secure promises for any conclusive solutions.
The Damascus merchants demanded solutions for all the problems affecting the development of foreign and domestic commerce, including the fees imposed by regime checkpoints on transportation vehicles. They also demanded the provision all the products and utilities the markets required.
Ihab Ismandar, the head of the export development and promotion body, said that the idea of linking imports to exports is not good given the current situation. He explained that controlling and arranging lists of imports is already the job of a specialized committee led by the minister of economy and foreign commerce. This committee is responsible for defining which products should be imported and which important operations need financing. The question here is: what do the coming days hold for Assad, who has emptied the country’s treasury to fund the war he launched against Syrians?
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer