A wristwatch worn by the prime minister of the Bashar al-Assad regime’s government, Imad Khamis, has sparked anger and ridicule on social media sites among regime loyalists due to its very high price, estimated to be millions of liras.
Khamis was accompanying ministers from the government who were heading to Aleppo to survey the economic situation of the province’s residents, when loyalists spread images of the watch he was wearing. They criticized him, saying that he was asking citizens to undergo austerity while wearing a watch worth millions.
The watch that Khamis wore was a Rolex, one of the most famous and expensive global brands for watches. Alsouria Net found the watch on the Rolex official page, and it appeared to be a Rolex Submariner Blue.
The last offer price for the watch was 13,400 US dollars, and according to the exchange rate (472 lira to the dollar) the watch is about 6,324,800 liras.
This number sparked criticism of the Assad government’s prime minister, with loyalist sites saying that the price of Khamis’s watch was equal to a civil servant’s salary for 20 years, while other comments pointed to the terrible economic conditions of fighters in Assad’s army compared with government officials. Some comments included ridicule.
Syrians working in the government sector complain of their low salaries compared with inflated prices of products in the markets, with a civil servant’s salary not exceeding 30,000 liras monthly. Some of them are forced to rent homes in Damascus, where the price of an apartment in an informal area is 150,000 liras monthly.
The salaries collected by Assad forces fighters (ranging between 27,000 to 32,000) have repeatedly led to criticism of the Assad government, especially when compared to the salaries of fighters in foreign militias which are at least 400 dollars.
The poor material condition of regime fighters and the lack of food allocations for them have led to some leaving the army and joining militias backed by Iran in order to get a better salary.
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.