Collapse, new US sanctions … Syria close to economic decline

While the devastating effects of the war, coupled with the financial crisis in neighboring Lebanon and the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, have significantly weakened the Syrian economy, the country also has to deal with the entry into force of new US sanctions on Wednesday.

After nine years of war, weakened by the financial crisis in Lebanon and weakened by the health crisis linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the Syrian economy is about to collapse.

The value of the Syrian book has fallen freely for several months and is currently registering the worst case since the war began in 2011. Last week the dollar, capital for the economy and imports, passed the short threshold of 3,000 Syrian pounds, more than four times the official rate, set in March by the central bank, to £ 700 for a greenback.

Before the war, which destroyed the country’s infrastructure and industries and destroyed the tourism sector, a major supplier of foreign currency, it was worth between 47 and 48 Syrian books at the official rate.

Signs of the seriousness of the situation, the “salvation government”, the civilian branch of the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Cham, have begun to replace the Syrian pound with the Turkish currency in ongoing transactions. And this, “to protect the province of Idleb from economic collapse,” a local official told AFP on Monday, June 15.

“Poverty will undoubtedly increase further”

The sharp write-down of the national currency caused prices in the market to rise, including basic necessities, which worsened the life situation of aciders already hard hit by the conflict.According to the World Food Program (WFP)Food prices have risen by 133% since May 2019, in a country where 9.3 million people are uncertain about food.

“The economic crisis, combined with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which has paralyzed the planet, will have a lasting impact on the living conditions of the Syrians,” said JihadYasigi, editor-in-chief of “TheSyriaReport” in France 24.

He added: “The fact that there were not many dollars left in the country, that Lebanon, a major supplier of green tones, is in crisis itself, and that transfers of money from Syrians living abroad to their families were reduced, after if they themselves have been affected by the coronavirus crisis in their host country, it will worsen the situation and poverty will undoubtedly increase further.

For its part, condemning “a great international speculation on the Syrian pound”, former Syrian Deputy Georges Jabbour explains to France 24 that regional influence is affecting the stability of the national currency. “Economic issues are linked to political issues,” he said. When there are upheavals in Lebanon or Iraq, when Israel plans to annex a part of the West Bank with the consent of the Americans, this has economic and economic consequences in Syria. “

The teamsCaesar, the dome of the Syrian economy?

Already subject to international sanctions, the president of President Bacharal-Assad could really see the crisis rapidly deteriorating, while the US law “CaesarSyriaCivilian ProtectionAct”, or “César law”, named after the whistleblower pseudonym, which had revealed 2014 photographs of bodies tortured and tortured in the regime’s prisons between 2011 and 2013, must come into force on 17 June.

The text, announced in December by President Donald Trump, provides for a freeze on all reconstruction aid for the Syrian authorities as well as sanctions against the regime or companies that cooperate with it, as long as the perpetrators have not “not been prosecuted.

“Caesar’s law is already starting to affect foreign companies (including Russian) prefer not to take risks,” ZakiMehchy, a consultant at British think tank Chatham House, told AFP recently.

The American, who will make foreign investment even more difficult, is described as “economic terrorism” by Damaset accused of being responsible for the current situation. Last week, several dozen people in the capital demonstrated to condemn these sanctions and reaffirm their support for President Assad.

Syrian Economy Minister Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, quoted by Al-Watan, a newspaper close to the regime, believes that this activism is “to prolong the war against Syria, to prevent any attempt at economic recovery or reconstruction”. But it also “cut the strategic alliance” between Damascus and its Iranian and Russian allies and economic partners.

In fact, the deterioration of the economic situation continues to weaken the power of Bacharal-Assad, which has seen some protests in areas still controlled by Damascus. Last week, several protests took place inSouida, a city in southern Syria, during which dozens of people protested the high cost of living before singing anti-regime slogans.

And it is not certain that anger will subside despite the dismissal of Prime Minister Imad Khamis on June 11, and whose government had adopted an unpopular package of measures such as new cuts in gasoline subsidies and a monthly ceiling for purchases of certain basic products, including rice and sugar. , at a subsidized price.