Dec 01, 2014 - Our Weekly Selection

In the News | 01-12-2014

The following is a selection of articles and reports written in the last week on Syria, related to economic, business and social issues:

Syria’s Assad regime cuts subsidies, focuses ailing economy on war effort: "With local industry battered by the fighting, the Syrian government must rely more on imports of items such as oil and wheat. But the Syrian pound has lost three-quarters of its value in the past four years, making those goods increasingly expensive to bring in."

The blood antiquities funding ISIL: "It's politically advantageous to blame ISIL. But it is another barbarism, one that unfolds in the hushed and elegant showrooms of antiquities merchants and auction houses in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, that is the true engine of this commerce."

A Bitter Winter Ahead in Syria: "Rising fuel prices have crippled public transport as people prepare to keep warm over the coming months."

Islamic State makes up to $45M a year from ransom, says UN expert: "The UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee told that an $120 million in ransom was paid to terrorist groups between 2004 and 2012."

Waterless Wadi Barada, Manufacturing Scarcity in a Syrian River Valley: "The large-scale expropriation of agricultural lands in the areas around Wadi Barada from the late 1970s onward also affected the local farming sector, and caused major shifts in the area’s demographic makeup. Many farmers who lost their land abandoned agriculture and turned to the more lucrative business of smuggling." (PDF version)

Leaving the Land, The Impact of Long-term Water Mismanagement in Syria: "The failure of large-scale agricultural development projects combined with economic policy reforms in the 2000s had far-reaching social repercussions, undermining farmers’ livelihoods, dislocating rural communities, and driving migration to urban centers and Lebanon.

Tropical fly-borne illness reported near Damascus: WHO: "It estimated that around 300,000 people in rural areas south of Damascus went without drinking water during the cut because water from their well fields was diverted to the capital's water supply network."

In Syria, struggling to shine a light on victims of sexual violence: "The woman said that she and six other women were abducted and held at the local state security headquarters. Over the course of 22 days, she said, they were raped on a rotating basis, with the head security officer inviting soldiers and others for what he termed "a party."

Intricate Woodwork, Through the Fog of War: "But since the fighting began in Syria, more shops and shop owners have been disappearing. The remaining artists have waged their own battle: they have tirelessly fought to keep creating their works."

Abu Shaker, a Famous Juice Shop in Damascus, Puts 'Continuity Over Profits': "Long a favorite among its Syrian clientele, the shop also keeps in touch with past foreign visitors who remain loyal fans of Abu Shaker (and stay connected to its social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter)."

Oil Isn’t All that Ails Petrofac: "Tumbling crude prices, down 30% since June, put pressure on the entire oil-field services sector. But Petrofac, which on Monday said next year’s earnings would be 26% below the consensus forecast, has problems that go beyond its critical commodity."

Written by: The Syria Report
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