As summer arrives, cooling devices prices rise in al-Hasakah 

A store selling electrical appliances in Qamishli - May 28, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Majd al-Salem)

A store selling electrical appliances in Qamishli - May 28, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Majd al-Salem)


The city of al-Hasakah is witnessing a rise in the prices of cooling and air conditioning devices like refrigerators, air conditioners, and fans, both used and new, adding a financial burden on citizens who are already suffering from difficult economic conditions.

On the local market pages on Facebook that sell used and new devices, Thamer al-Hussein (46 years old) from Qamishli is looking for a refrigerator at a price that suits his budget and meets the needs of his family of four, to secure cold water and preserve food.

al-Hussein told Enab Baladi that the refrigerator he owns has become old, dilapidated, and frequently breaks down. The last time, a maintenance worker asked for one million Syrian pounds to repair it.

He added that one million pounds is almost equivalent to his monthly salary from his job in a food warehouse, so he decided to buy a new refrigerator, but he was shocked by the high prices, all of which are in dollars.

After that, al-Hussein decided to buy a used refrigerator again, hoping it would be better than his old dilapidated one, but so far, he has not found anything that meets his needs and matches his budget, he said.

Adjustments according to electricity conditions

Fares Ibrahim (50 years old) from the town of al-Qahtaniyah bought a used medium-sized air conditioner for $100 (equivalent to 15,000 Syrian pounds), while the new one costs about $200.

Ibrahim told Enab Baladi that the prices of air conditioners are high, even though some are locally made in al-Hasakah, noting that he had to replace the cooling pads of the air conditioner, which is locally known as the “desert air conditioner,” for 60,000 Syrian pounds.

According to Ibrahim, some people who buy particularly large air conditioners have to modify the air conditioners to work not only on electric current but also on batteries.

He added that during the night, and with the intense heat, it becomes difficult to sleep, so the air conditioners are adjusted to operate on battery because the operating time of the generators (ampere subscriptions) is only eight hours, shutting down at 12 AM.

On the other hand, some well-off individuals subscribe to the nighttime ampere system, and the cost of one nighttime ampere subscription is about four US dollars.

Mohamed al-Hassan (47 years old), an electrical technician from al-Hasakah, told Enab Baladi that he modifies air conditioners to work on batteries or solar energy, and this arrangement is popular with customers, despite the additional cost of about $35 to the price of the air conditioner.

In dollars

During a tour by Enab Baladi in stores selling cooling and air conditioning devices such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and fans of ceiling and vertical types in Qamishli, all items were priced in US dollars.

Mufeed Sheikho (46 years old), the owner of a store selling electrical appliances, told Enab Baladi that customers consider the prices high due to the devaluation of the Syrian pound against the US dollar, while the seller finds them “reasonable” because all the goods he imports are paid for in dollars, including their taxes, duties, and fees.

The seller added that most air conditioners that “flooded the market” this year are the Iranian-made residential and office air conditioners with plastic housings, as they are cheaper compared to local and Turkish-made ones.

He mentioned that there is a demand for adjustable and lightweight plastic air conditioners, especially by office and shop owners in the market.

He pointed out that the least demanded and sold are the gas air conditioners that need high electricity (about eight amperes) to operate, which is difficult to secure given the constant outages of the main electrical grid. Most subscriptions for residents and commercial establishments in the market are four amperes or less.

Sheikho explained that it is different for refrigerators, as customers prefer local and Turkish-made ones.

The prices of new refrigerators range between $300 and $700, depending on size and type, while used refrigerator prices range between $100 and $200. New air conditioners range between $150 and $400, depending on size and origin.

As for fans, there is a demand for vertical ones that operate on both electricity and battery, priced at about $20.

The minimum wage in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is one million and forty thousand Syrian pounds (about $70).

A study by the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) stated that 30% of Syrians in the northern regions rely on daily (irregular) work as their primary and secondary income source, and 20% pay rent (rent in al-Hasakah is about $75 per month). It also noted that 61% of families are in debt.

While 75% of households cannot save any amount during the month, the minimum average income of the population is $110, which is significantly lower by about $20 than the minimum expenditure basket value.


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