In a private meeting with Syrian journalists last month, which has not been previously reported, President Assad seemed out of touch with the concerns of his people and helpless to do anything about them. Read more from @NYTBen and @hwaida_saad.
@nytimes @NYTBen @hwaida_saad Yes, it is known that countries flourish during the war, even more when war is taking place in your country and capital. OK, he is probably dictator, but how does that change economic situation in war torn country which serves as playground for rich and powerful.
A mother of three near Damascus got $55 for selling her hair for wigs. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest, she said she bought two gallons of heating oil, clothes for her children and a roast chicken — the first that they had in months.
Many Syrians devote their days to finding fuel to cook and warm their homes, and standing in long lines for rationed pita bread. Some areas get only a few hours of electricity a day, barely enough for people to keep their cellphones charged.
Syria’s economy is worse than at any time since the war began in 2011. Its currency reached an all-time low against the dollar on the black market, food prices have more than doubled in the last year and 60% of Syrians are at risk of going hungry.
The greatest threat to President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on Syria is not the rebel factions he’s been fighting for a decade or the foreign powers that control large parts of the country. It’s the economic crisis that’s left Syrians without enough to eat.