Syrian Trade Minister said the government's decision to cut bread allocations has been reversed amid state of resentment swept the regime-held areas over the past week.
State-run media reported Sunday that Talal al-Barazi has declared the reversal of the decision during his visit to Hama province. He also confirmed that the flour allocations would not be reduced in any province, in addition to an increase in bread allocations for families of 8 members and above.
Two weeks ago, the regime raised the price of a bread bundle of seven loaves to 225 Syrian Pounds ($0,70) , about %125 increase after it was 100 Pounds.
A deepening economic crisis, coupled with the significant destruction of infrastructure over a decade of conflict primarily by the Syrian regime and its allies, have led to severe wheat shortages. Compounding the crisis, the regime has allowed the discriminatory distribution of bread, alongside corruption and restrictions on how much subsidized bread people can buy that lead to people going hungry, according to the Human Rights Watch.
Bread has long been a food staple in Syria. Before 2011 the country produced enough wheat to satisfy domestic consumption needs. Low-income people in particular tended to rely on bread as the cheapest and most filling food staple, residents and humanitarian workers told Human Rights Watch. But the armed conflict led to a decline in domestic wheat production and at the same time drove millions into poverty, making them even more reliant on bread in their diet.
According to a study published by Humboldt University in 2020, Syria lost 943,000 hectares of cultivated land between 2010 and 2018, due to military operations, displacement of farmers and farmworkers, mismanagement of state resources, and conflict-related costs, including change in control of parts of the country. Some land loss was due to unlawful airstrikes by the Syrian-Russian military alliance, which escalated in 2015 and in some cases rose to apparent war crimes. The strikes not only destroyed farmland but also destroyed numerous bakeries in areas then under opposition control.
In the last year, the Syrian regime has faced major obstacles in its ability to purchase and import wheat, both from outside and from Syrian areas under Kurdish control that constitute most of the cultivated land. The severe depreciation of the Syrian currency, brought about by a mix of factors, including the Lebanese financial crisis and fears around announcements relating to new US sanctions, affected purchasing power across the country. (Eqtsad, HWR)