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'Dogs live better than us in Syria', veteran actress says

Opinion | 2020-02-09 13:04:00
'Dogs live better than us in Syria', veteran actress says
(Zaman Al Wasl)- A statement by famous Syrian actress sparked anger of pro-regime activists and the gloating of opposition ones on social media.

'Dogs live better than us' said Nahid al-Halabi in an interview aired on Thursday by Ninar FM Radio.

Following years of silence by Bashar al-Assad's loyalists, criticisms and boiling anger are shaping the post-war era due to the deteriorating living conditions and the dramatic fall of the republic.

Halabi's statement has recalled the iconic phrase 'man bites dog' from the Journalism school to describe how an unusual and infrequent event.

Her phrase is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary where dogs in Syria live better than Syrians themselves.

Assad and his close corrupt circle believe that you can get an obedient man if you make him starves, qauting an Arabic saying ‘make your dog starves to be obedient’.

The once-resilient Syrian pound has halved in value in the past 12 months as economic turmoil in neighbouring Lebanon makes it more difficult to access hard currency, while reduced foreign funding for enemies of the Assad regime cut illicit flows of dollars into the country, according to the Financial Times.

The currency freefall has added to the burden on Syria’s long-suffering population after nine years of brutal civil war, triggering rapid price inflation as traders pay more for the dollars needed to purchase imports, with serious consequences for the more than 80 per cent of the population who live below the poverty line. It was not clear how Mr Assad’s decree, issued on Saturday, would apply to importers.

The pound started 2019 at around S£500 to the dollar, but started to spiral downwards in the autumn and in recent weeks has crashed below S£1,000.
The pound’s decline highlights the vulnerability of Syrian markets to shocks, he said — notably the worsening banking crisis and dollar shortage in neighbouring Lebanon which has disrupted Syrian imports, strangled remittances from Syrian refugees and sparked panic in Syrian foreign exchange markets.

Not just meat is a luxury in Syria but everything.

People across Syria have reported rapid price rises of 20 per cent to 30 per cent in key commodities since October. There is no official inflation data, but a monthly food price study by the UN’s World Food Programme showed that in November, the latest data available, the cost of a standard food basket had increased by an average of 21 per cent year on year. WFP identified a “high correlation” between the Syrian pound’s depreciation and the price rises.

“Meat is a luxury now,” said Mirna al-Hasan, a Syrian journalist living in Idlib. “The most important thing is to find any food to survive.”

Simmering anger at the rocketing cost of living boiled over in the southern city of Suwaida last Month, where residents mounted their second day of protests on Friday. “This is a government of thieves,” they chanted.

Demonstrations are very rare in regime-held Syria, where people fear running foul of the security services if they express dissent.

 (Zaman Al Wasl, Financial Times)




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