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Syrians face stifling crisis amid gov't assurances

English.news.cn   2013-12-30 05:23:28            

DAMASCUS, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- While Syrian officials placate the Syrians that the government is able to meet all their needs and that all commodities items are abundant, the situation on ground seems to need more efforts.

The governor of Syria's central bank Adib Mayaleh stressed that the Syrian pound has recovered and the gap between the exchange rate in the black market and in the regular market is getting nearer.

The pound is traded on Sunday at 143.5 for dollar in the black market and at 141 pounds in the regular market.

Mayaleh told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV Sunday that Syria has paid off all its debts, indicating that the support offered to the country by Russia, Iran and other friendly countries have helped Syria to face the crisis and meet the market's requirements.

Meanwhile, Syrian Prime Minister Walid Halqi said earlier that Syria's foreign debt is no more than half a million dollars.

Despite the remarkable improvement in the value of the pound, the prices of all commodities are still high and unattainable for many Syrians, who suffer from soaring unemployment and poverty in a country where the rate of inflation has hit the record.

The citizens are still suffering from major crisis, mainly the massive congestion in front of bakeries or the problem of obtaining oil derivatives.

The shortage in cooking gas re-surfaced and one gas cylinder is now sold at 2,400 pounds, up from 1,100 a month ago.

The army's recent offensive on gunmen's hideouts in the Damascus suburb of Adra has hindered the arrival of gas cylinders in the capital Damascus, creating a stifling crisis.

People also queued for long hours in front of fuel stations to fill their cars as the country suffer from shortage in oil derivatives following the rebels' seizure of oil wells in northeast Syria, in addition to the repetitive attacks on main wells and the stealing of crude oil to sell it at low prices.

The Syria Steps website listed 10 major crisis it said the Syrian citizen is mostly suffering from, mainly the shortage in fuel derivatives and bread, as well as the long hours of power rationing that reaches up to 10 hours a day in the capital and extends to a couple of days and even more in the countryside.

Syria complains that main power stations feeding the capital have come under frequent attacks by gunmen.

Damascus has recently signed a major oil and gas deal worth 90 million U.S. dollars with the Russian Soyuzneftegaz company which allows for offshore drilling, development, and production to take place in Syria's territorial waters for the very first time.

Syria's oil production has significantly dropped by up to 90 percent since the start of the conflict in Syria in mid-March 2011. Gas production also declined from 30 million cubic meters per day to less than 16 million cubic meters per day.

The country also sustains huge losses in the sectors of tourism and oil, Syria's main lifelines, due to the destruction of infrastructure such as railways, oil pipelines, and refineries, in addition to other massive losses in industrial and agricultural sectors that amounts to billions of US dollars.

Editor: Mengjie
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