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Syrian Regime Paves Way for Warlords to Join Reconstruction Process | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Syrian man comforts a boy amid the rubble of buildings following a reported air strike on the neighborhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. / AFP / THAER MOHAMMEDTHAER MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty

Damascus-The Syrian regime has saved no effort to left financially exploit the people, recently eying the jewelry of women; that is if there is any left after five years of war.

A recent statement by the Minister of Administrative Development Hasan Nouri revealed that the government is eying the savings of Syrians or the jewelry and gold of women.

Nouri was speaking at the Youth and Businessmen Conference organized by the Revolutionary Youth Union, the youth organization of the Ba’ath Party in Syria.

The minister said: “They say our people are rich. I tell them, yes we are. We are rich for our ethics, culture, women’s jewelry, and hidden money.”

He pointed out that if Syrians didn’t rebuild the country from their own money, the labor market would not revive.
Nouri called for optimism given that the “worst has already happened.” He also revealed that the government is considering supporting youth and middle class investments.

Speaking about families of large capital, Nouri said that the idea of basing the economy of the state on one hundred families has gone.

He added that there must be a positive atmosphere and support from the economic organizations and state institutions to support his project.

This comes as the country suffers its worst economic conditions in five years of war and as the regime resorts to systematized destruction against its opponents.

The Syrian pound has fallen to its lowest rate with LS500 in exchange of USD1. Fuel resources are scarce and agriculture is deteriorating with 80 percent of the Syrian people below the poverty line. Most Syrians depend on international relief after their savings and jewelry had all been spent.

The minister, who ignored the catastrophic numbers and called for optimism, is speaking indirectly about a new class of businessmen that emerged during the war.

He tried evasively to call for including it in the national economy when he pointed out that the idea of basing the economy on few families is over. In addition to that, he mentioned that the regimeis finding it hard to train and prepare youth to meet the needs of the market.

Nouri believes that the real problem is not with the market but with preparing the young men. He explained there is a case of “indiscipline” in Syria with a large number of investments focusing on importing cars and acquisitions without added value.

The minister also showcased the increased number of iPhones in the country and pointed out that the Syrian youth tend to be more consuming than before.

The consuming youth class the minister was referring to are the new economy warlords who include officers, men on barricades, and militants who earn money from robbery at the areas that had fallen under their control. He added that they also resort to selling the medical and food supplies in besieged areas ten times their worth.

Those warlords are also facing the problem of laundering their money amid the economic sanctions that prevent them from smuggling cash outside the country.

This also explains the increased number of nightclubs and extravagant shops and restaurants.

Bab Tuma, the famous Christian neighborhood, now holds the largest gathering of pubs and nightclubs. Every Saturday and Thursday of every week, the neighborhood becomes some sort of open dance floor crowded by people.

They claim they are fighting war with love and joy and ignore the number of beggars and underage prostitutes.
This new class doesn’t know where to spend its money and owns iPhones that are banned in Syria due to economic sanctions.

Nouri did not reject the use of the phones but asked the young men of Syria to invest their money, saying their country needs skillful and competent youth.