Protests broke out in the city of Maarat al-Nouman in Idleb on Monday, May 23, in which demonstrators rallied over the cutting off of fuel from the provincial countryside and rising consumer prices.
Protesters gathered on the international highway and chanted slogans calling for justice to be implemented, in a sign to the revolutionary brigades that oversee a number of service institutions. They also called on revolutionary factions to unite and for the need to open the route for fuel by force from the direction of Afrin, while holding those traders monopolizing goods to account.
A similar evening protest broke out in the city of Saraqeb in the eastern Idleb countryside last Sunday in which protesters burned tires and cut off the international road for several hours, which brought about the intervention of the Free Police, who hurried to open the international route and side roads. The protesters called for the markets to be monitored, and traders and monopolists of basic goods to be held to account.
The markets of the Idleb countryside have seen a big rise in basic items and foodstuffs, while sugar, which has risen to about 700 Syrian pounds ($3.1) per kilogram, disappeared suddenly from the market. The price of flour and bread has meanwhile risen, and with it the price of other items, accompanied by a decrease in the exchange rate of the Syrian lira against the dollar.
Fuel arrives from the areas under ISIS control to Afrin and from there to the Idleb countryside. Exchanges have been completed previously, with permission for fuel tankers to pass from Afrin in exchange for vegetable trucks to pass into Afrin from the Idleb countryside. With the continuing blockade of the only road from Afrin, the price of fuel has risen, with a liter of mazout reaching 600 pounds ($2.7), and a liter of benzene reaching 400 pounds ($1.8).
There are signs that the regime and its foreign allies are trying to strengthen the siege of Idleb province, which has been outside regime control for over a year, to force the revolutionaries to accept the regime’s terms and achieve what military means have not been able to achieve for years.
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.