That Syria's government-held areas are going through a great economic and living-standards crisis is not hidden to the observer on the inside or the outside. Stories and reports abound on the depreciation of the Syrian pound and long queues for bread and other basic goods. Opinions differ within on the cause of this crisis. Is it primarily due to Western sanctions? Or is it primarily on account of governmental corruption and shortcomings?
To discuss some of these issues, I recently conducted an interview with Mihrac Ural (aka Ali Kayali), leader of the 'Syrian Resistance' and the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Alexandretta, which is an area that used to belong to Syria but was given by the French to Turkey prior to Syria's independence. I have known Ural since 2013 and interviewed him previously also on the Sochi conference and the Turkish invasion of Afrin in 2018. The 'Syrian Resistance' has participated as a civilian volunteer auxiliary group for the Syrian army during the war and claims a total of 108 'martyrs.' At a future point I hope to document all of those 'martyrs.'
Q: Currently Syria is going through a great economic crisis. Could you describe some of the difficulties in daily life amid this crisis?
A: Yes. Indeed Syria is passing through a very difficult circumstance: the rise of the dollar and its impacts on Syrian economic life with the immoral and inhumane sanctions along with some of the unpatriotic separatist forces protected by America and controlling the resources of oil, gas, grains and cotton and the hydroelectric dams that produce electricity. These things have made life hell for Syrians. For the first time, Syrians have begun facing the results of financial inflation and the change in daily prices and sometimes they change from hour to hour. They have created hell and placed the Syrian people before a historical trial and this trial also includes a trial for the Syrian leadership.
Q: What are the roots of this crisis? For example some say that the problem is due to the Western sanctions on Syria. Other say that it is due to corruption. In your opinion what are the causes of the crisis?
A: The roots of this crisis go back to the aims of the forces of imperialism and their plans that aim to break the will and resistance of the peoples in the region and are centred around the protection of Israel and its expansionism and trying to impose normalisation of the states of the region with Israel. And this aim is the result of the great conflict between the great powers: that is, the forces in retreat economically and are constituted under the leadership of America and the West, versus the forces that are ascendant economically, like China, Russia and India. And the aim is to cut the path for this ascendancy of the states on the ascendancy and ignite the fire around them, from Ukraine all the way to the Mediterranean to the Middle East. This plan is all interconnected and the sole chain that can resist these projects is Syria just as it has been since the 1970s until Israel was defeated in June 2000, along with resisting the igniting of internal war in Lebanon through the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and resisting the imposition of the war of July 2006 and the victory of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza War in 2008-2009, and the victory of the Syrian army with the auxiliary forces and the Syrian resistance against the terrorists supported by 80 states.
The foreign sanctions have a primary role but control of the strategic resources by some of the forces that rely on American support with the loss of very great areas of production and support for the Syrian economy is the foundation in this crisis. With regards to corruption: corruption is one of the results of the economic crisis, and in economics, corruption, so long as it is within the confines of the homeland, does not impact on the general economy. But it has an impact in one case which is when the resources are smuggling of wealth outside the borders of the homeland and returning by request from the homeland. Here lies the negative impact on the homeland economy, for instead of this wealth being an asset for the relaunching of the national economy, it becomes an obstacle before the development of the national economy. On this level there has occurred some of the issues. But the Syrian leadership has taken decisive decisions and has incorporated some of the active companies under its administration. But even so, it is not sufficient to get out of the crisis.