Dr. Talal Mustafa
Mr. Wajih Haddad
Syria is currently divided into four distinct areas of control, each run by its own illegitimate government: the Syrian regime backed by Russia and Iran; the Kurdish PYD forces in northeastern Syria backed by the United States; Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerlyal-Nusra), classified as a terrorist organization; and the Turkish-backed Ntional Army factions.
The most crucial repercussion of these divisions and conflicts is the ongoing energy shortage. This is worst in regime-controlled areas; the other areas are faring better because they either rely on domestic production, such as the PYD-controlled area, or import fuel from Turkey or the PYD-controlled area. Meanwhile, Iran supplies the regime with one million barrels of oil per month, an amount that meets only part of its energy needs. As energy shortages and rationing intensify, and shares of fuel allocated to individuals and families needed to perform necessary life functions decrease, gradual shifts in lifestyles have emerged dictated by severe conditions and forced adaptation.The energy crisis, which has been escalating in a clear pattern since 2012, is caused by the regime’s inability to secure enough energy. The Syrian government controls energy distribution through three main mechanisms: reducing the quantities and quotas granted to individuals and institutions, controlling distribution mechanisms and dates, and raising official and unofficial prices of oil derivatives. The energy crisis has led to severe rationing and a decrease in the allocations granted by the regime to individuals and institutions, and Syrians began to struggle daily to secure their energy needs. The weaker sections of society were forced o reduce their consumption of oil derivatives due to high prices — official and unofficial — and the dramatic decrease in availability.
For this study, we conducted 200 field interviews addressing the energy crisis and its impact on Syrian society in regime-controlled areas, specifically Damascus and Hama. Only 3.5% of the participants stated that they received enough fuel.
Of those without sufficient fuel, 37.5% said their main source of fuel came through the “smart card” — the mechanism for official allocations or rations — knowing that the smart Executive Summary Harmoon Center For Contemporary Studies 7 card covers less than 10% of the needs of a single family. Rechargeable batteries were the most popular alternative at 56.5%, followed by black market fuel at 20%, while 19% of the respondents could not afford any alternative fuel source. Solar panels were used by 9.5%, followed by firewood at 8.5%, kerosene burner stoves at 4.5%, and electricity generators at 1.5%.
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