Syria. Letter from Lattakia: a voice for the forgotten Syrian people
Highly respected Donors and benefactors
Given the legacy of the conflict that has ripped apart a country and its people for more than ten years, leaving 6.2 million people internally displaced and over 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, it is appalling that the people of Syria must face further suffering, inflicted and compounded by the economic sanctions.
In this statement we hope to enable the voice of the Syrians to be heard and to offer an insight into the context on the ground about which everyone is silent about.
Sorrowfully we are witnessing the miserable implications of this severe war on the people’s humanitarian situation in particular and the mysterious coming unknown future in general.
The Economic sanctions that have been placed on Syria by the EU (including the UK and the USA) turned to be the straw that destroyed the last chance of a decent life according to the Syrian people.
These sanctions have caused dire humanitarian consequences for Syrian citizens in government controlled areas (which is 70% of the country) who are seeking to rebuild their lives. Today and specially after the implementation of the Caesar embargo since June 2020, it is very difficult to bring in nearly all the primary raw materials that are essential and vital for the life of every single Syrian family.
The first thing to be affected was the medical industry. The rareness of the raw material led to a catastrophic increase in the prices of the cardiac, and blood pressure, cancer, thyroid, diabetes drugs and infant formula, if they exist.
The second most important vital issue was the lack of fuel which forced the Syrians to live in total darkness for 90% of the day and to suffer also the unbearable cold winter without having any means of heating, leaving the small infants and the elderly people to face their own destiny in this frosty winter.
This coincided with the lack of the available opportunities for work, whether in the office sector, labor sector or any possible work, due to the huge number of displaced people who crowded to live in the safe areas in general and Latakia in specific, leading to a big inflation in the number of population.
Sorrowfully, It is now the Syrian citizens who are suffering from the resulting lack of investment in basic services and infrastructure. Besides, the tragic collapse of the purchasing power of the local currency is leading the people to a coming future famine, knowing that the salary of 90% of the clerks in Syria is less than 50,000 lira per month in other words the family spends less than 55 cent a day. These small incomes are never commensurate with the high daily expenses.
Furthermore, covid-19 pandemic comes to settle down on the Syrian’s weak shoulders leaving most of them unemployed, or partly discharged from their jobs or struggling with their small incomes to earn their daily bread and housing fees.
Last but not the least, the wildfires came to destroy the last beam of hope when Latakia suffered from the most destructive wildfires in decades. A massive fire swept through the forests around the towns and villages and the Syrian coast. A massive blaze that erupts overnight in the Syrian countryside. Most of the people lost their homes, land and properties and displaced about 25,000 people. The fires have been fanned by dry and windy weather conditions, which continued for several days helping the fire to destroy all the green areas, literally. This wave swallowed hundreds of acres of citrus, olive trees and agricultural lands, leaving the coastal people nearly without food supplies this winter.
After all these psychological and physical punishments imposed on the Syrians, the problem of the youth immigration raised. Since most of the Syrian young people are fleeing away from the military service ghost, migration has become a dream for every young man and woman seeking to build their future outside Syria to escape death. Leaving their families without any hope of re-building a new Syria.
Syria in general, and Latakia in specific, is under a big threat, which needs a hand of love and mercy to those misfortuned people, who are suffering silently all these crises one after the other, realising that what is to come is ambiguity.
Fra. Fadi Azar
Fra. Josip Cvitkovic