Syria raises gas prices for second time within one month despite protests

Syria raises gas prices for second time within one month despite protests
The Syrian regime raised prices despite continual protests in the country's south, initially sparked by economic conditions.
2 min read
19 September, 2023
The average cost of living for a Syrian family in regime-held areas is about US$480 dollars, far outstripping the average public sector salary of US$20. [Getty]

The Syrian regime raised fuel prices for the second time in nearly a month on Sunday, 17 September, amid protests in the country's south over deteriorating economic conditions.

Sunday's fuel increase was minor – just over a 1 per cent increase per litre – but comes after the Ministry of Trade raised the price of diesel and gasoline by over 150 per cent on 15 August.

A litre of gasoline now costs 14,660 Syrian lira or about US$1.08.

Public sector salaries are a little over US$20 per month, while a Syrian family's average monthly cost of living is estimated at about US$480.

Syria has experienced a protracted economic crisis since 2019, with shortages of essential goods and rampant hyperinflation.

According to the UN, around 90 per cent of Syrians live in poverty.

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Simmering tensions over economic conditions exploded into mass protests after price hikes in August, with demonstrations in the southern province of Suweida continuing to draw thousands ever since.

Though protesters' demands were initially economic, they quickly turned political, calling for the downfall of the ruling regime.

Demonstrators in Suweida have torn down pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and closed branches of the ruling Baath party in the province.

The Syrian regime has largely ignored the protests, careful not to upset the Druze-majority population in Suweida.

Throughout the 12-year-long civil war, the regime has generally refrained from confronting dissent in Suweida directly, in contrast to their brutal treatment of protesters in other parts of the country.

Instead, Suweida's citizens accuse the regime of funding gangs that terrorise the population through kidnapping and other acts of arbitrary violence.