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Syrian economy suffers from sanctions and unemployment

By Areej Zaher -In a country which adopted socialism as a way of life, economic difficulties will be its penalty. The Syrian war brought not only blood and terror but also EU sanctions to Syrian stock holdings and ventures, and the Syrian people were most affected.

Government expenditure especially defense spending has escalated through the last four decades (which began since Hafiz Assad presidency till now under Bashar Assad reign). And to enforce public sector, private sector was tided till 2000 which was a new era that marked a new prospective to open the door for new investments and relations with neighboring countries like (Turkey) and the world. On the other hand, the world Bank has reported that Syrian conflict till 2017 had disastrous effects on about third of the residents and half of the medical and educational institutions, as a result of the collapse of vital economical systems.

With the first flare of Syrian conflict, the economy was affected severely, due to military expenditure and political tension with countries which had once strong financial ties and correlation interests with Syria, including Turkey, when the two countries engaged in a free-trade agreement back in 2007. However, there have been a reversal of this trade since 2001, as many companies based in Aleppo have relocated across the borders and sold much of their output back in Syria. And as a result, bilateral exports to Syria has dropped from $1.8 billion to $500 in 2012.

Unfortunately and although it has been more than eight years since the war, the task of quantifying the economic impact on the country was impeded by the lack of reliable data. However, it’s clear that war has torn Syria apart socially and economically as well. Now Syria is facing new challenges, unemployment is the most concerning topic to deal with, taking in consideration job market, destruction of many vital infrastructures, dislocation, internal emigration and corruption.

Unemployment is considered to be one of the economical and social difficulties that face the country, whether developed or regressive. So in a case of Syria which suffered an eight years conflict, it would require serious actions to downsize the number losses and collaborate to come to satisfying solutions that meet our ambitions in overcoming those difficulties.

To get to know unemployment rate we have to divide the number of unemployed on work force, so in case of war where destruction, emigration and sanctions have taken place, unemployment rate would go way up. Besides, when it comes to work force, we have to take in consideration the terrifying numbers of youth who lost their lives whether they were in the army, or mere innocent who were caught in war raging fire. Not to mention the over six million people who fled across border seeking a better life and a safe place.

Unfortunately, this unemployment is not temporary because its considered Hegelianism and requires training and unemployed rehabbing, therefore it could have some difficulties and could take a long time to handle, also it needs a positive government intervention.

Unemployment has dangerous effects, economically, socially, politically and psychologically. And the importance of studying and analyzing unemployment and the importance of human force and its bad effects, is that increasing number of jobless poses serious complications on the country’s economy.
Clearly we can notice the huge gap between public spending growth and unemployment rate, that public spending doesn’t cope with unemployment rate. Not to mention the increase in population in certain provinces due to its safe environment far from war zones, therefore coastal cities are now suffocating which increased labor supply where there is a weak demand on labor. Besides, this region isn’t considered industrial or commercial as provinces like Damascus or Aleppo.

Unemployment is an essential matter to be put under the microscope, for that development is basically dependent on the human factor, not to mention the increasing number of jobless which will eventually pose terrifying threats on the economy.

*Areej Zaher is a Syrian writer based in Lattakia.

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