Hasaka – Sound and Picture

the currency fluctuation rate and the depreciation in the value of the SYP against the US dollar has directly impacted the middle class, which forms the majority of the population of Hasaka province in northeast of Syria. Most of the people of this class work in regime institutions and have a low-income, while market prices increased four times more compared to what it was before the Syrian revolution without being accompanied by a commensurate raise in salaries.

Issa, a father and an employee in Hasaka public institution of water, said: “The high prices and not having enough money forced me to look for alternative ways to cope with this situation”.

Clothes “children’s clothes in particular” has increased in price the most,. hence Issa found himself compelled to go to second-hand clothes stores, or what is locally known as “Baleh” instead of purchasing new clothes. A new trousers for men could cost up to 4 thousand Syrian pounds, and a shirt to three thousand and two hundred pounds. As for children, especially those under two years, a cotton baby shirt price could cost up to two thousand pounds, which can’t be afforded by any employee whose salary does not exceed a 25 thousand pounds a month, not mentioning other livelihood expenses such as food, water and others, which also doubled in prices two to three times more.

Turkish and Iraqi commodities are more affordable

Issa, just like the majority of the people in Hasaka, resorted to second hand stores, where the price of men trousers does not exceed 100 pounds, while the price of a shirt about 400 pounds, and this is considered affordable and acceptable to some extent to the middle and the lower class families.

Abu Khaled, a used clothes trader in Hasaka, stated that second-hand stores were previously dedicated to the poor only, but after the Syrian revolution and the rise in prices, these stores have seen a high demand by all families, pointing out that the item’s price in the second-hand stores does not exceed half the price of the new items, and this befitted a lot of families, especially that most of imported used clothes are in a good shape.

Abu Khaled also added that a significant part of second hand clothes are imported from Turkey and Iraq, which makes it cheaper than other goods. Imported second hand clothes come in several categories to suit all classes, as there are new clothes that have defects sewing but they are “quality A ” and quite similar to the new. these “Quality A” clothes are the most expensive used clothes in addition to the second and third qualities, which are classified according to the quality of each piece.

Recession prevailed though

In the same context, Siraj, an activist from Hasaka said: “the phenomenon of second-hand stores has seen widespread in the city markets, but clothing has become a minor need on the priorities scale of the people, and sometimes a luxury against the necessity of providing food and other basic needs which families strain to provide”.

Hasaka markets in general are experiencing a great recession in buying and selling Movement as a result of the high prices, and this caused a negative impact on traders and shopkeepers, as people seek to secure their need in an alternative means, not only in terms of clothing but also in buying old vegetables and frozen meat which are less expensive.

Selling used clothing or “baleh” became the last resort to the people after it had become fruitful trade for the workers with the spread of second-hand stores everywhere in Syrian markets. However, this  phenomenon may not last for long with the erosion of the Syrian pound value and the risks that the importing may hinder as a result of the ongoing military operations by all parties of the conflict in Syria.

About The Author


Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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