October 23, 2014 05:50 UTC

In the News

Conflict Presses Syrian Economy

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Damascus has been somewhat spared as the Syrian economy slows.
Damascus has been somewhat spared as the Syrian economy slows.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
 
Eighteen months of conflict in Syria have hurt the country’s economy. But in the capital, Damascus, a certain level of normalcy exists. Prices are higher. But goods are still available.
 
VOA reporter Elizabeth Arrott recently visited Damascus. Her visit took place under the guidance of a Syrian government official.
 
She says the Spice Market of Old Damascus is an unusual sight in a country affected by civil war. Syrian military forces are striking nearby towns were rebels have support. But in the center of Damascus, business is good.
 
One man operates a business once by his father and grandfather. He sells cumin, dried peppers, pine nuts and almonds.
 
He says work is about the same, but prices have gone up. This has affected both his customers and business. He is thankful that supplies are still arriving at his shop. But he says people are cutting back, and mainly buying only essential goods.
 
Another shopkeeper says business has fallen.
 
“You know we live in a very difficult atmosphere, the atmosphere of crisis.”
 
Afif Dala is with the Syrian Ministry of Economy and Trade. He says Western restrictions on Syria for its violent reaction to government opponents have caused problems. But the government has worked to keep business in the capital normal.

But the Syrian economy actually depends on itself. There is a self-sufficiency in the Syrian economy because the Syrian economy is very diverse."
 
Syria, however, also seeks help from outside the country. Russia, China and Venezuela are major trade partners of Syria.
 
“There are a lot of countries, actually, because finally the interests, the economic interests between countries are talk, not anything else. It is not a moral thing, the Syrian economy, only; also its interests.

Syria Refugees Flee Areas of ConflictSyria Refugees Flee Areas of Conflict
x
Syria Refugees Flee Areas of Conflict
Syria Refugees Flee Areas of Conflict
But conditions in Syria are important to other countries. This is especially true when many thousands of people have been killed in violence across Syria. This has forced tens of thousands of people to cross the border to escape the conflict.
 
This week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Syria at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul. He said actions of Turkey’s neighbor are "hurting the heart of humanity and the whole Islamic world."
 
Mr. Erdogan said there are almost one hundred thousand Syrian refugees in Turkey. And he expects more will enter as they flee fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces.
 
And that’s the VOA Special English Economics Report. I’m Mario Ritter.
 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Su Dinc from: Ankara, Turkey
10/16/2012 7:27 PM
Actually, Syrian economy is not as moderate as the news mentioned above. There is severe economic crisis in Syria. Its economy is to come to a standstill. The sanctions applied by other countries to Besar Esad government has affected the whole economy and of course the public.Unfortunately, not only guilty people but also the innocent ones are suffering from this implementation. Nowadays, the world is watching a man destroying his country day by day.


by: Manda from: Japan
10/13/2012 3:35 PM
The fact that goods supply is normal is good. But progblem is the conflict itself and the cause of the conflict is Syrian government itself. People are struggling to live.


by: FRANZ from: BRAZIL
10/13/2012 11:28 AM
I believe there is no room in the world for regimes that are not democratic. I also believe that there won't be people in this world who prefer war instead of investing in health, education. Public Security, Retirement and Justice. I'm very upset with Russia, China and Venezuela who are only thinking about the money regardless of the Syrian people.

In Response

by: cr-t from: China
10/22/2012 9:53 AM
Dear Friend! You should not blame the countries trading with the Syrian goverment, because they supplied the essentials to Syria for its people to feed and fight againt the anti-govermental forces. You should blame for the countries which're supporting the military activities against the Syrian goverment. This is the cause of bringing tragedy to the Syrian people.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
10/13/2012 4:22 AM
Economic sanctions from international society would work slow and steadily to the Syrian present administration. It's true there remains other trade partners supporting Syaria seaking trade interests. They would do anything even selling arms for money.
Why doesn't U.S. attack Syaria like Iraq and Lybya?

Learn with The News

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs