Arab Today, arab today syrians receive ramadan with almost empty pockets
Last Updated : GMT 10:42:23
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Syrians receive Ramadan with almost empty pockets

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Syrians receive Ramadan with almost empty pockets

Damascus - XINHUA

The Syrian people used to excitedly embrace the holy month of Ramadan to make delicious dishes, however, this year, Syrians are not only receiving the holy month with raging war in their country, but also with an unprecedented price hike that made their life ever harder. For most Syrians, ensuring basic food is not less difficult than keeping their lives away from the widespread death in many hotspots in the country. PRICE SOARING The prices of all foodstuffs and other commodities have soared a few days ahead of Ramadan, during which Syrians\' demand on foodstuffs, drinks and sweets dramatically increase. At the Bab Srigeh marketplace, one of the main popular markets in the capital Damascus, a large number of people were flocking to the souk, but very few of them were actually buying stuffs. Most of the passersby urged Xinhua cameraman to focus his camera on the price tags in the shops while others screamed out \" tell the truth... the prices are so high no one can afford that.\" One old man approached the reporter and whispered in his ear \" go and see that guy who is selling egg. He is ripping us off as he wants 500 Syrian pounds for an egg basket.\" The price of 1 kg of chicken increased from 280 to 700 Syrian pounds. One kg of milk was sold at 25 pounds and now 125 pounds. The merchants and consumers are pitted against each other as the consumers always place the blame of the traders and the latter blames the price hike on the surge in the prices of hard currency, mainly the U.S. dollar. The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Syrian pound in the black market also rocketed up from around 190 Syrian pounds 10 days ago to 280 Syrian pounds Tuesday. The exchange rate of the Syrian pound was 47 Syrian pound ahead of the crisis. \"They must bring down the prices... this prices are unbelievable the people are fed up with high cost of living... people don\'t have that money to buy these expensive things. The prices in this Ramadan have tripled comparing to last year,\" Um Rashed, a 40-year-old women, told Xinhua at the souk. For his part, Naji Sarji, a shopkeeper, however, told Xinhua that \"I am a small trader and am still on the beginning of the road but the thing is that we are getting broke!\" \"You sell an item for 100 Syrian pounds and purchase a new one for 115. And sometimes the big merchants say there are no goods. It\'s really crazy because we can\'t satisfy the customers and we can\'t even satisfy ourselves,\" he complained. CURRENCY DIVE Economists blame the currency\'s dive on the sanctions imposed by world powers on Syria to speed up the overthrow of the Syrian government. However, some others suggest that the migration of billions of U.S. dollars outside the country has largely contributed to the depreciation of the Syrian pound. The depreciation of the pound and the erratic inflation rate have pushed prices to an unprecedented level, increasing the suffering of the Syrian people, who have already been enduring risks that threaten their lives amid a dramatic surge in attacks. The government has recently raised the salaries of public employees by nearly 40 percent. However, the step, according to economists, is still incapable to fill the gap between the income and the soaring prices. \"Are you kidding me? The salary raise has just made my life worse... It\'s like a turtle trying to catch a rabbit... They don\'t match. The prices have become higher,\" one man named Manhal Minhed at the souk told Xinhua. \"You can see too many people, but they are carrying nothing. Usually (you) could see each person holding at least four food plastic bags in his hands but now most people are just asking for the prices without buying,\" Minhed said. During Ramadan, Syrian families used to make plenty of dishes at the breakfast table and invite other family members and friends to enjoy the big feast. But now, most of them will have to stick to the minimum due to the gloomy atmosphere. Another man, Mohammad Salma, said that \"Ramadan has always been the month of goodness. Many of us are displaced from our homes, but Ramadan still has its glamour, we want to make prayers and we hope that God would listen to us.\" \"We have complaints about the prices because the prices are changing every week and even every day. During last week the prices have changed like ten times... the price tags are changing every day,\" the young man went on saying. \"Food is the number one concern for people and other than that we wish the situation in Syria would get fixed. There is no solution to the situation in Syria but reconciliation... We are all one people and one country,\" Salma added.

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