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Begging Phenomenon Grows in Syria’s Damascus Amid Government Inaction

More people are begging on the streets of Syria’s capital than ever before, writes North Press.
Begging Phenomenon Grows in Syria’s Damascus Amid Government Inaction

Residents in the Syrian capital, Damascus, say that asking help is no longer limited to beggars, as the number of people who need to provide a helping hand.

The lack of job opportunities due to the crises experienced by government-held areas are the main cause of the new phenomenon.

Hashem al-Abbar, 43, is a displaced person from the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idleb countryside, who lives in a building under construction in al-Kabbas neighborhood, east of Damascus. He said that he started asking help after his wife lost her job and the aid provided by civil associations and organizations was interrupted.   

After displacement from his hometown in 2015, al-Abbar worked in a vegetable store as a laborer, but the matter did not last for long as he was unable to carry the materials and bring them to the store because he was hit by a shell that resulted in the amputation of one of his feet.

He does not like resorting to this method to manage his family’s affairs, “but we have nothing to do other than this way to feed ourselves in light of the lack of job opportunities.” 

According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the number of Syrians facing hunger has increased by more than three million compared to last year.

12.4 million people in war-torn Syria are struggling to find enough to eat, a huge increase described by the WFP as “worrying”. 


“Now, 60% of the Syrians are suffering from food insecurity, based on the results of a national assessment in late 2020,” according to WFP.

Children, women, old people and youth are deployed in the streets of Damascus seeking financial assistance from passers-by, and they can be noticed more like those who have taken begging as a job for themselves in the vicinity and inside the vegetable markets and in front of bakeries and crowded places.  

Zaher al-Moji, 55, a grocer in the al-Zahira neighborhood, said that hardly an hour elapsed without “people asking for help.”

He pointed out that he used to provide assistance as much as he could, as he offered something from his grocery to support their livelihood. 

“In the past months, the situation worsened a lot and the number of families asking for help has increased,” he added.

Left jobless

As for Rabab Mas’oud, 33, from the town of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta, she used to rely on her job as a cleaner in a private company.

The woman, who heads two children, managed to get this job “with great difficulty,” but the matter did not continue, as at the beginning of this year, the company was closed and she lost the job.

The lack to get another job opportunity exacerbated her living conditions with the rise in the prices of materials, “I had to ask people for help on the streets to keep me and my children alive.” 

Syria is witnessing a sharp increase in living conditions in light of the wave of high prices to unprecedented levels against the background of the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.

Residents told North Press that most passers-by cannot offer anything to those seeking aid on the streets, especially in light of the deteriorating living conditions for the general population.


This article was 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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