Transport fees doubled between al-Hasakah and Damascus

A transit bus in the city of Qamishli, northeastern Syria - October 2023 (Enab Baladi)

A transit bus in the city of Qamishli, northeastern Syria - October 2023 (Enab Baladi)


Al-Hasakah – Rita Ahmed

Travelers in the city of Qamishli, east of al-Hasakah governorate, face difficulties in transportation due to the high prices of private bus tickets from the governorate to the city of Damascus.

The difficulties are represented by the high cost of travel tickets by land and air and their differences between one company and another, which hinders the movement of students and patients, especially those who need to travel to the capital, Damascus, on an ongoing basis.

After The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) raised the price of fuel two months ago, the price of a regular bus ticket increased from 40,000 to 85,000 Syrian pounds and the price of a business class ticket from 50,000 to 120,000 pounds.

Hadeel al-Omar, a medical student in Damascus, told Enab Baladi that a bus ticket costs 85,000 Syrian pounds for a regular reservation, while its price on a so-called business class bus is 120,000 Syrian pounds, pointing out that the price varies between one company and another.

Al-Omar stated that the price is high compared to her living situation and income, which prompts her to visit her family once during the school semester or even postpone it until the end of the school year.

For his part, Mahmoud Fayez, 45, lives in the town of Ma’bada and needs to move to Damascus hospitals every 20 days to receive treatment after he was diagnosed with cancer about six months ago.

Fayez told Enab Baladi that every time he finds himself forced to pay amounts that exceed his financial capacity because the cost of traveling from Qamishli to Damascus exceeds one million Syrian pounds by flight, and he cannot bear the trouble of traveling by land for a length of time that exceeds 18 hours.

He stated that if he had not had relatives outside Syria helping him with travel and treatment expenses, his condition would have been very bad.

Fuel and maintenance

An employee at a private transportation company in Qamishli said that raising bus ticket prices is necessary to ensure the continuity of service as a result of the 300% increase in fuel prices imposed by the Autonomous Administration on tourism companies, including private transportation companies.

He added to Enab Baladi that the fuel allocations are not sufficient to fully operate a trip from Qamishli to Damascus, and the matter is not limited only to the rise in fuel prices, but the maintenance of buses has become expensive and in dollars, and this matter incurs huge costs to the company.

The Autonomous Administration raised fuel prices in mid-September by approximately 300%, as the price of a liter of “free” (unsubsidized) diesel rose from 1,700 to 4,600 pounds.

The official of the Joint Presidency of the General Administration of Fuel in Northeastern Syria, Abeer Muhammad Khaled, commented on the issue by saying that the rise in the price of diesel included all industrial facilities, tourist cars, private hospitals, private companies, and civil and military Autonomous Administration institutions.

​​($1=13,950 SYP) according to the S-P Today website, which covers the trading rate of the Syrian pound to the dollar.

Air travel has become a luxury

The option of air travel is almost impossible and a luxury, with the decline of options for civilians. Traveling by plane is no longer an option, and its use has become limited to the military sector only.

As for the Syrian Airlines company, reservations are usually made through an intermediary, and the cost of a regular ticket is about 600,000 pounds, while the price of a Cham Wings ticket exceeds 850,000 pounds.

Ticket prices are high compared to the living and economic conditions, despite the Autonomous Administration raising the salaries of its employees by 100% last August.

Employee salaries increased from a minimum of 520,000 pounds to 1,040,000 pounds, and the minimum in universities reached 3,090,000 pounds, after which it was 1,545,000 pounds.

The amounts allocated to students in the affected areas increased from 250,000 to 500,000 pounds, and to the families of martyrs from 225,000 to 450,000 pounds as a minimum.

As for the security forces of the Autonomous Administration, their salaries increased from 620,000 pounds to a minimum of 1,240,000 pounds.



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