On Thursday, the Fahd Forces faction operating in Suweida and angry civilians blocked the Damascus-Suweida highway near the Mardak Bridge with burning tires “in protest against the government’s decision to lift partial subsidies for citizens,” Suweida 24 reported.
In a statement, activists in Suweida called for a popular movement with a series of demands, including “a radical solution to the economic policy that led to large-scale migration, and is descending upon those who remain in Syria,” the website said.
The website added that the statement, distributed by civil activists in Suweida, stressed that “the anger of the street today, should not be for the return of subsidies only. The repeal of the decision if it happens, does not amount to solving the many problems that existed before it. The streets were already full because of them.”
The statement demanded the restoration of government subsidies for all “groups of society, without discrimination. The subsidies must return for all essential goods, salaries and wages for civil servants must be raised, a similar increase must be imposed for private-sector workers by at least 200 percent. Further, clear and transparent plans must be created for securing oil products for citizens, and healthcare coverage must be guaranteed for the elderly and people with special needs.”
“These demands must be achieved through the development of an economic emergency plan that will restore to the state budget the funds obtained illegally by cell phone companies, the illegal extension of contracts since 2014, and the seizure of profits by warlords and crisis traders such as (Qaterji, al-Foz, Shalish, and others). These revenues should support the state budget and the economic plan.”
Fadia Suleiman, deputy minister of communications and technology in the regime’s government, revealed that 596,628 families have been excluded from the subsidy regime during the first phase, or around 15% of subsidized family cards.
After the decision to lift subsidies for half a million Syrian families, they will have to buy the price of a bread bundle outside the subsidy card at the price of 1300 Syrian pounds, a liter of gasoline at 2500 Syrian pounds, and a liter of diesel at 1700 Syrian pounds, while the price of a domestic gas cylinder became 30,600 Syrian pounds.
The decision to lift subsidies will exacerbate the suffering of thousands of poor families in regime-controlled areas, which relied on government support to cover their expenses amidst the Syrian pound’s depreciation against the U.S. dollar and the significant increase in prices.
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.