Now most Syrians spend their days looking for fuel to cook and heat their homes and to line up for rationed pita. The power shortage is constant, some areas receive electricity for a few hours a day, people do not have enough to keep their cellphones charged.
Desperate women have worked selling hair to feed their families.
“I had to sell my hair or my body,” said a mother of three recently at a hair salon near Damascus, speaking on condition of anonymity like others interviewed for the article for fear of arrest.
Her husband, a carpenter, was ill and was on scattered work, and she needed heating oil for the house and a winter coat for the children.
She got $ 55 for her hair, which will be used to make the wig, she bought two gallons of heating oil, clothes for her kids and roast chicken, which her family tasted in three months.
She cried for two days after that.
The declining currency means doctors now earn less than $ 50 a month. The head of the doctors’ syndicate recently said that many people were going abroad for work in Sudan and Somalia, in rare countries that allow easy entry for Syrians, but none of them have strong economies. Other professionals earn very little.
“People’s concern, more than anything, is food and fuel,” said a Damascus musician. “Everything is unusually expensive and people are afraid to open their mouths.”
The reasons are multiple and overlapping: extensive damage and displacement from the war; Imposing Western sanctions on Mr. Al-Assad’s government and allies; A banking collapse in neighboring Lebanon, where wealthy Syrians kept their money; And lockdown to combat coronavirus.