DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The government of economically beleaguered Syria on Thursday decided to cut spending to lessen the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fearing that oil and gas prices will rise. wheat are not rising sharply, the state news agency said.
SANA reported that after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, officials decided to manage reserves of major commodities such as wheat, sugar, cooking oil and rice for the next two months, monitor near the distribution of products and to ration them.
Syrian Economy Minister Mohammed Samer Khalil said Crimea had offered to export wheat to Syria. He said the Syrian government was considering the offer. SANA said the government also decided to closely monitor the exchange rate and “ration public spending in a way that only covers priorities during this period.”
Syria, struggling after more than a decade of war, depends mainly on wheat imports from Russia and oil shipments from its other ally, Iran. As Russia beat Ukraine on Thursday, Syrian officials saw signs of danger in rising oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic and wholesale prices surged for fuel oil, wheat and other raw materials.
Russia is a key supporter of President Bashar Assad’s government and its military intervention in 2015 helped tip the balance of power in its favour. The Syrian government described the attacks on Ukraine as a “military operation by Russian allies to preserve their national security and stability”.
Russia’s war effort has pushed the Syrian government to manage its own resources. SANA, the state news agency, said the issue was discussed at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on Thursday on the way forward given the Russian invasion.
The move came as oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic surged towards or above $100 a barrel to their highest levels since 2014, up more than 6%.
The Syrian conflict that began in March 2011 has claimed nearly half a million lives and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million. The war also resulted in severe shortages of fuel and wheat. The dollar today is worth about 3,600 Syrian pounds against 47 pounds at the start of the conflict.
The country’s largest oil wells are under the control of US-backed Kurdish fighters in the east of the country, depriving the government of them. The country’s fertile agricultural areas, where wheat is planted, are also beyond government control.
Earlier Thursday, Russia invaded Ukraine, hitting towns and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee. The Ukrainian government has said Russian tanks and troops are crossing the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout has already reverberated around the world.
The Syrian government’s decision came hours after the UN warned that 14.6 million people needed help in war-torn Syria, an increase of 1.2 million people from the previous year. ‘last year. The report from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was released on Wednesday evening.
The UN and its partners are reaching 7 million people every month, “but more support is needed,” tweeted Mark Cutts, the UN’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis.
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