(Official exchange rate is currently 80 Syrian pounds for one US dollar)
Lamb--500 Syrian pounds to this week's price of 750 sp, Chicken--200 sp to 450 sp, Milk--per liter, from 40 to 95 sp, Rice--from 40 sp to 100 sp, Eggs--160-300 sp for a carton of 30 medium-sized eggs, Cooking oil--30 per liter to 60, Sugar--40 sp per kilo to 85 sp, Bread--20 sp for 10 loaves of flat bread to 55 currently in Damascus but 220 s.p. in Aleppo where, as in Homs, Hama and the east, a massive humanitarian crises in rapidly spreading.
Russia has promised wheat for this basic staple in Syria. But time is of the essence. In many areas of Syria most in need, basic food-stuff-supplying NGO's are absent.
Bottled cooking gas-- 500 sp now up to 1000 sp, is also becoming more difficult to find in several Damascus neighborhoods.
Heating oil, which was 100 sp per liter, is now on average 250 sp but becoming quite scarce. Even some of the five-star hotels here in Damascus, due to a severe shortage of "mazot" fuel oil, are cutting off the heat and hot water to rooms except for periods between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. Russia has reportedly promised a tanker of fuel oil but it will be dangerous to transport it by road to the population centers here because, according to students working as volunteers with the Syrian Arab Republic Red Crescent Society and other humanitarian organizations, rebel forces are increasing stealing or destroying aid convoys and rampaging the countryside.
Students here in Damascus intend to publish a more detailed list of consumer goods every two weeks. Yesterday some picketed the empty American embassy in protest against US-led sanctions. "The Syrian people will never forget or forgive the American campaign to starve us into submission", one sign read.
It appears to this observer that, rather as is the case with Iran, the illegal and immoral US-led sanctions, which urgently need to be challenged at The Hague, imposed on the civilian population of Syria, are having the opposite effect of what their cynical architects intended. The piling on of sanctions is giving credibility to the Assad government, which, while employing measures to curtail prices increases here, so far with modest success, is arguing that the price rises are the result of Syria's American and Zionist enemies. This view is widely shared among students at Damascus University and the general public.
Franklin Lamb is doing research in Damascus and is reachable c/o Email address removed
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