Last update: February 2023
The UN special envoy for Syria stated in January 2022 that the country’s economy had ‘collapsed’. US government sources stated that ‘the Russian invasion of Ukraine exacerbated the dire economic and humanitarian conditions’ in Syria. The disruption in the supply of wheat, of which Syria is heavily dependent on imports, and of other food staples led to increased food prices and higher costs for humanitarian organisations in Syria. Fuel prices continued to increase due to ongoing fuel shortages. Electricity shortages and rationing were common across the country. This caused very serious disruptions of daily life and of the economy. Shrinking salaries, economic deterioration, and loss of opportunities in Syria bore the risk of ever more Syrians leaving the country, engaging in war economy such as narcotraffic or being recruited by armed groups. The economic downfall was caused by war, ‘decades-long corruption’ by the Assad government, the collapse of the Lebanese banking sector, and was exacerbated by western sanctions. [Damascus 2022, 3.1, pp. 34-38]
According to the UNOCHA humanitarian needs overview, 900 000 people are in need in Damascus city, 40 000 of whom are said to be in extreme and catastrophic need. 600 000 of the overall population of 1.8 million in the city, as estimated by UNOCHA, are IDPs. [Damascus 2022, 3.8, p. 59]
The general circumstances prevailing in Damascus assessed in relation to the factors above entail significant hardship. The person’s ability to navigate the above circumstances will mostly depend on access to financial means and in exceptional cases, the reasonableness requirement may be satisfied. The assessment should take into account the individual circumstances of the applicant.