In Assad’s Syria, Has Bread Become a Luxury?

The cost of basic essentials including bread is too high for many Syrians, writes Baladi News.

Living in the areas under the control of the Bashar al-Assad regime has become very difficult. After years of lack of electricity, gas, diesel, and petrol, today, a loaf of bread – one of daily life’s simplest necessities – has become inaccessible for many people.

The recent collapse began after the Central Bank of the Assad regime introduced a new banknote denomination of 5,000 Syrian pounds, which led to a collapse of the exchange rate of the pound against the US dollar (3,500 pounds for every dollar), which, in turn, led to an increase in the price of foodstuffs and other goods.

While first-class employees in the regime-controlled areas earn a monthly salary of 40,000 to 50,000 pounds (the equivalent of 12 to 15 dollars), they actually need 400,000 pounds (or 120 dollars) to secure the basic necessities.

A pro-regime page posted a question to its Facebook followers:  “In your opinion, how much money does a family of five need every month to live a decent life?” Some said 2,000,000 pounds (570 dollars) or 1,000,000 pounds (285 dollars) for an average lifestyle. 

Most of the comments said that leaving the country is the only way to have a decent life at a time when living inside Syria has become very difficult.

With the continued daily collapse of the exchange rate of the pound, prices have been increasing daily, while people are completely unable to secure the basic necessities of life.

The regime-controlled areas have a radically different perspective. Ads in the streets of the capital Damascus advertise for nightly events in restaurants featuring a singer and dinner that cost up to 100,000 pounds per person. One must make a reservation at least three days in advance, with no guarantee of getting a table. 

Residents and employees are calling for an increase in salaries to keep pace with the price inflation, as the employee’s salary does not exceed 50,000 pounds. Ministers assert that it is impossible to increase salaries as injecting more liquidity into the market would mean a new rise in prices and further inflation.

The United Nations recently announced that more than 11 million people in the regime’s areas need humanitarian assistance and that 9.3 million people suffer from food insecurity, expressing its concern about the repercussions of the ongoing economic downturn in Syria.

The regime’s Central Bureau of Statistics said that 80 percent of Syrians residing in regime-controlled areas live under the extreme poverty line.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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