Fri 28 Feb 2020

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Protests against harsh living conditions in Suwaida

A demonstration broke out in Suwaida - 15 January 2020 (The Sweida 24 news site)

A demonstration broke out in Suwaida - 15 January 2020 (The Sweida 24 news site)

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Some residents of Suwaida governorate in southern Syria demonstrated against the high prices and increasingly difficult living conditions in the governorate.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Wednesday, 15 January, that some people gathered in the square of “al-Sir,” “in protest against the deteriorating living conditions,” and chanted, “we want to live.”

Some local Facebook news pages pointed out that triggered by rising food prices and “the slump in the living conditions,” a few dozens of citizens gathered in front of the governorate building.

The Sweida 24 news site reported that the “peaceful protesters” blocked the roads leading to the main square in the city of Shahba and protested against “the Syrian government’s neglect of its citizens.”

The Syrian pound (SYP) hit a record low against the US dollar (USD) on the morning of 16 January, to reach 1085 SYP per USD to buy and 1100 SYP per USD to sell, according to the website of Syrian Pound Today (a Syrian Pound tracking website).

The depreciation of the Syrian pound has caused a steep rise in food prices and led to the loss of some food products in the markets of Damascus and in the Syrian-regime controlled areas, according to some information monitored by Enab Baladi via its social media networks and from local sources.

The battered Syrian pound’s unofficial exchange rate has declined significantly against the USD over the past few months, driven down by damage to the war-torn economy from tougher Western and US sanctions against the government of the Syrian regime.

Furthermore, the pound’s decline has accelerated since the start of the protests in Lebanon, the main source of foreign currency flows. The Lebanese banks, which include deposits for Syrian people, imposed restrictions on dollar withdrawals.

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