Syria.. Closure of crossing has surged unemployment and fuel prices

Primitive oil refining burner in Aleppo countryside - May 13, 2017 (Enab Baladi)

Primitive oil refining burner in Aleppo countryside - May 13, 2017 (Enab Baladi)


Aleppo countryside – Abd al-Salam Majan

Following the Turkish military campaign on the areas controlled by the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), on 9 October 2019, the commercial road between the eastern Euphrates and the northern countryside of Aleppo was closed.

Consequently, hundreds of families in the western Euphrates regions were affected in their livelihoods, and fuel prices have increased and it disappeared after a previous abundance.

The commercial movement in Jarabulus, Azaz, al-Bab, and Afrin has decreased since the closure of the commercial crossing. The biggest impact was on the hydrocarbon sector, which also suffered a bombing on “oil burners”, on November 25, 2019.

Increase of unemployment after the interruption 

The fuel arriving from the east of the Euphrates secured means of livelihood of hundreds of families in the northern countryside of Aleppo, and its suspension stopped the work of fuel trucks, “oil burners” and “pallets” that were spread throughout the region.

According to the driver Ahmed al-Sheikh, who was transporting fuel in his private car, the northern countryside of Aleppo depended on fuel imported from Turkey. He noted that the price of a liter of gasoline reached more than 700 Syrian pounds.

Muhammad Arshavi, owner of the “Al-Farouq” gas station located between the towns of Dabiq and Arshav, added that the price of a liter of the best type of diesel oil was about more than 250 Syrian pounds, while Turkish fuel does not have the required quality, and its distribution is still limited in several gases.

Hundreds of shops and “pallets” discontinued due to closure of the road, and hundreds of workers quit their work in the “burners”, which are working to refine crude oil that comes from the areas controlled by SDF.

Hundreds of poor families, especially the families of the displaced who did not have enough money to open large projects, relied on selling fuel either by barrels on cars, in remote stores, or by “pallets” on the roads.

They gained profits ranging from 1 thousand to 5 thousand Syrian pounds per day, according to the estimation of the media activist Abdel Qader Mohamed who said that the suspension of all these actions raised the difficult living situation in those areas.

Insufficient solutions

Local councils in northern Aleppo appealed to relief organizations to provide solutions for the people affected by the closure of the road, east of the Euphrates.

Ibrahim Bakour, deputy head of the local council in Sawran, told Enab Baladi that some organizations had responded to projects to combat unemployment, but they were still unable to respond to the existing need.

Bakour pointed out that the recent military campaign against the southern Idlib countryside increased the poverty and needs in the northern countryside of Aleppo. Also, employees who receive their salaries in the Syrian pound were suffering, since the recent collapse of the Syrian Lira which has crossed the barrier of a thousand against the US dollar during the past week and reflected the weak purchasing power in the area.

According to the statistics of the UNOCHA, the number of displaced people from the southern Idlib countryside since December 1, 2019, has reached more than 350,000, 45,000 of whom have headed towards the northern countryside of Aleppo.



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