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Inside Syria

Syria's dwindling resources

The war in Syria has taken a heavy toll on the economy, despite the government's best efforts to keep it afloat.
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2012 11:03

As the fighting continues with neither the government nor the opposition forces any closer to a decisive victory, it is the Syrian people who are most exposed to the realities of war.

"The overwhelming majority of Syrians have been internally displaced and simply don't have the resources to find shelter or leave the country – and this is the majority of the population that has been negatively affected by the conflict."

- Samer Abboud, a Syrian economist at Arcadia University

The fighting has so far forced around 400,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries and at least two million others have been forced to leave their homes.

Access to food, fuel and electricity has become increasingly difficult - and where it is available, prices are high.

Daily staples like bread are in very short supply and the price can be as much five times of what it was before the conflict began.

The shortages mean people have to queue for hours to buy whatever they can; electricity outages have become commonplace - leaving many Syrians vulnerable during the coldest time of the year.

And for a majority of Syrians access to services like healthcare, schools and even rubbish collection have disappeared.

"The Russian position has changed rather subtly. In past days for the first time one is hearing the Russians saying almost 'we accept that this regime is doomed' - they haven't said that but that is the implication of they are saying. Up to now they were simply firmly with the regime."

- Alan George, a senior associate at Oxford University

The war in Syria has taken a heavy toll on the economy, despite the government's best efforts to keep it afloat.

Inflation has risen to 40 percent, while the prices of food and fuel have increased although Syria's government has spent billions of dollars of its foreign currency reserves on subsidising food and fuel.

But some economists say the government may run out of these reserves by the end of 2013. The cost of war and soldiers' wages are also hitting the government's finances as foreign investment in Syria has almost ground to a halt.

Inside Syria, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses the plight of civilians caught in the middle of fighting with guests: Durmus Aydin, the vice president of Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish aid agency which has operated in Syria for over 10 years; Samer Abboud, a Syrian economist at Arcadia University whose research is focused on capital flight in Syria; and Alan George, a senior associate at Oxford University and author of Syria: Neither Bread nor Freedom.


THE STATE OF SYRIA:

  • The Syrian pound has fallen by 51 percent in the past year
  • Government is using foreign currency reserves to keep economy afloat
  • Economists say Syria may run out of currency reserves by end of 2013
  • Around 400,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries
  • Around two million Syrians have been forced to leave their homes

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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