The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has issued several statements and briefs about its plans for 2023 and its performance in 2022, indicating a notable shift towards prioritising the water, agriculture, and health sectors.
A French auction house held last week the sale of home furnishings reportedly belonging to Rifaat Al-Assad, the former Syrian vice-president accused of war crimes and corruption. In 2020, a French court ordered the confiscation of properties belonging to Mr Assad but the furniture was not included.
On January 9, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to authorise the renewal of Syria’s cross-border aid mechanism a day before it expired. The renewal, which extends the mechanism for another six months, will permit humanitarian deliveries to 4 million Syrians in Northwest Syria.
On December 23, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the 2023 National Defence Authorisation Act into law which includes a proposal for an interagency strategy to combat the Syrian regime’s production and trafficking of captagon and other narcotics. The Act, which was included in the USD 858 billion defence spending bill, requires several federal agencies to provide U.S. Congress with a strategy to dismantle the narcotics industry in Syria.
Protests against rising living costs in the Suweida governorate have continued into the start of the new year, pushing the government to temporarily recall the province’s governor in a rare political move and to increase military salaries. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Syria has devalued the exchange rate of the Syrian pound by more than 50 percent.
Syria’s unprecedented fuel crisis, which was triggered by the suspension of Iranian oil supplies, has entered its third week, causing significant price surges and leading the government to implement several emergency measures, including shutting down state institutions until the beginning of the year.
The Syrian president recently issued two decisions increasing the salaries of Syrian judges, while the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria raised public employee salaries.
The number of early recovery projects (ERPs) implemented inside opposition areas has increased by nine percent during the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year. Meanwhile, hundreds of ERPs have been implemented in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
Earlier this month, the government raised the prices of basic imported commodities, putting more financial strain on Syrians who are unable to keep pace with the rising cost of living.
French building materials company Lafarge has agreed to pay USD 778 million in fines and forfeitures to the United States government after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State and the Nusra Front between 2013 and 2014. The case marks the first time a company pleads guilty in the United States for funding a terrorist organisation.