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Idlib bakery shutting down after flour aid stops

A charity-funded bakery selling subsidized bread to 60,000 people in […]

3 May 2016

A charity-funded bakery selling subsidized bread to 60,000 people in 13 villages in northwestern Syria will close its doors on Wednesday after announcing that international donors have stopped providing flour.

The Iblin bakery, located in southwest Idlib province just outside the city of Ariha, relies on donations of flour provided by international aid organizations in Turkey.

“It was a surprise when the flour stopped coming,” Iblin local council president Ahmed Khalf tells Syria Direct’s Noura al-Hourani.

“We didn’t receive any explanation.”

Q: Why is the price of bread rising in Iblin? Does the increase only include your village?

One reason for the rising cost of bread is that the two organizations providing flour to the area’s only bakery suspended their donations. It was a surprise when the flour stopped coming; we didn’t receive any explanation. We spoke with the provincial council and they promised to give us an explanation soon and to find a solution. 

Additionally, the cost of mazot [diesel] is rising because fuel no longer comes from Islamic State territory. Today the cost of a liter of mazot is SP275 and this issue is not just affecting Iblin—the price of fuel is rising in all parts of Idlib province.

Q: What impact are the rising prices having on townspeople? How much flour do you have stockpiled?

The price of a 1,200-gram bundle of bread has risen from SP120 to SP200. This is placing a huge burden on citizens. Our stockpile of flour will only last two days and then we will be forced to close down the bakery.

Q: How many people rely on this bakery? How will people get bread if it closes?

The bakery produces around 30,000 bundles of bread per day and serves around 60,000 people in 13 villages. If the bakery shuts down, people will be forced to buy bread from private bakeries where a 600-gram bundle of bread costs SP200. 

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