As part of our effort to highlight civilian stories, below is a conversation between Syria Deeply and a tradesman in Aleppo. He hasn’t been able to reach his shop since August because it’s on the frontline between government held areas and rebel controlled neighborhoods.
He supported Assad since the start of the uprising and blamed it all on an “international conspiracy,” but today he thinks differently.
Everyone here is asking same questions these days. Why don’t government-owned bakeries in the city have any bread? You can find it at private shops, but at sky-high prices. A pack of bread which used to cost 15-25 Syrian pounds (up to 50 U.S. cents, at the rate before the war) is now being sold for up to 200 pounds (more than $2 at the current exchange rate).
When we hear that the Syrian army is bringing in bread and distributing it to people, we rush to the place, hoping to get some for our families. But then we are pushed away by other “better citizens” – their favored people – those who are holding guns and working as government thugs. They take hundreds of packs from the truck, such that there is not enough left for even half the people waiting in line!
(Residents in a government controlled neighborhood in Aleppo line up at a bakery).
Whenever you ask for fuel at the state-run outlets, where oil is supposed to cost 25 pounds per liter, they say that it doesn’t exist. But you can find the same oil at some private shops for 100 to 200 pounds per liter. So the problem is not the shortage of fuel, but that it’s going to the wrong hands. It’s the same story with the price of foreign currencies. They are lying to us!
I am also very skeptical of the state TV reports of explosions at heavily guarded government institutions. They must be either inside attacks by traitors or the state media is lying. I don’t see a third option. I can’t stand being fooled by their TV reports anymore.
Moreover, hundreds of shops and businesses have been looted, bombed and destroyed, but until today almost none of the places or businesses owned by (the politically powerful) Rami Makhlouf were harmed. This makes me very cynical!
The security situation is very bad in the city and we cannot go out after sunset anymore, sometimes even earlier. But one thing still surprises me. A lot of people are being kidnapped from areas under the control of the government forces. How do those kidnappers pass the checkpoints full of government forces, if they’re from the rebel side?
The last thought that doesn’t let me sleep at night is the decision by the government to move the vital enterprises, facilities and factories to the “safe” provinces. What do they mean by safe provinces, are they the coastal area? And what a coincidence, because after Damascus airport wasn’t available for several days last week, the governor of Tartous announced that the agricultural airport in Tartous will start operating as a commercial airport.
Are we moving towards separation? This is my worst nightmare…no Syrian can afford this.