Syrians struggle with food shortages during Ramadan

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As Muslims across the world welcome the month of Ramadan with joy, Syrians in Idlib province face the month with worry and uncertainty.

Many living in the war-torn country are struggling with food shortages and inflated prices.

The Syrian pound has crashed to one sixth of its value since two years ago and, although Syria has been self-sufficient in food, fuel shortages has lead to a shortage of food in the cities.

At a refugee camp in the village of Atme, located 60 kilometres north of Idlib city and close to the Turkish border, refugee Um Mohammed lives with her children in a makeshift tent.

She escaped from Damascus after her husband died during the conflict and described the situation in the camp as increasingly dire with little food or aid available.

“Ramadan is approaching, the heat is sweltering, and we live in tents, how will we fast? Where will we get food? We don't receive any monetary aid, or food packages, nothing at all. What will we do? How will I feed my children? Our situation is difficult, I can't afford a loaf of bread,” she said.

In the town of Sarmada, 30km north of Idlib city, many shop owners are trying to find stock for their shops.

Samer Taleb, a grocery shop owner, said the high prices and food shortages are worrying many people.

“Our stock is very limited, and prices are very expensive. The price of dollars is through the roof. People are very worried about Ramadan, there is nothing to eat, the weather is very hot, there is no electricity, or water. Everything is very expensive, very little bread, almost no flour,” he said.

The government has begun to address the food crisis. Last week it passed a law forbidding anyone from transporting food out of the country.

Some Lebanese and many Syrians who live in Lebanon have been shopping for food in the capital before taking it back to Lebanon, where everything costs slightly more.

For more than two years, President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters determined to oust him have been locked in a conflict that has escalated into an increasingly sectarian civil war.

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