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As the Russian war against Ukraine is well into its fifth day, fears began to surface about the repercussions that this war could have on different countries and regions around the world, especially those regions where the Russians are present in direct contact next to the Americans, not the least of which are regions of north and east Syria. Residents of the region are following developments firsthand, especially in light of expectations that the tense relations between Moscow and Washington will affect the implicit understandings between them regarding the division of spheres of influence. In another context, the crisis has cast a heavy shadow on the aspects of economic life in the areas of the “Autonomous Administration,” as it directly affected the commercial movement due to the rise in the prices of gold, and consequently the rise in the value of the US dollar against the Syrian pound.
With the scarcity of rain in the last two years, the region is likely to suffer from a shortage of wheat, which may lead to a worsening regional economic situation in light of the inability to import Russian and Ukrainian wheat.
(Soundbite) Farhad Harsan, a citizen of Qamishli:
“For us, it is the high prices that have affected this region. This is a possibility. There are the crops that we import, and these things, of course, will have a great impact, especially on bread, in addition to the rise in the prices of materials and the decline of the lira against European currencies and the increase in inflation. All of this will happen because of the war, and the war would usually bring good things and bad things. In general, most people sympathize with Ukraine, and some of them are also sympathetic toward Russia, but if you want my opinion, I sympathize with my land, so that I may save myself, and whether I sympathize with this party or that, neither Putin nor the second party would care”.
(Soundbite), Evan Taher, a youth activist:
“The battle of Ukraine and the Russian invasion of it these days has great repercussions and effects, especially as it results from a political, economic and military conflict with the West, including European countries and America with Russia. These repercussions would have negative effects on Syria, especially as Russia tries at times to influence its partners or those affiliated with the United States of America, including, for example, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is a key partner in the fight against ISIS.
(Soundbite) Walid Ali, the co-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce:
“The rise in the price of gold is inevitable, and the price of the dollar will also rise, so the events will have an impact on our region. Most of the materials, 80-90 percent of them, enter the regions of northern and eastern Syria in dollars, so the battles will have a great impact. The higher the price of the dollar, the more expensive things will be. The price of materials as well will shoot up, and the situation generally is not stable. According to my expectation, I think that if the Russian president follows through on his threats to launch a nuclear warhead, the whole world from Germany and Europe may come to the regions of north and east Syria, and as you can see that Putin’s strange statements make everything possible.”
(Soundbite) Waleed Joly, a political analyst:
“After 2019, there was an understanding between America and Russia during Turkey’s extension of its influence over the areas of Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. These understandings and this coordination, I think, will be subject to some vibrations or a state of instability will appear. This will be by adding forces and military equipment to what is in its points in Syria, specifically in the east of the Euphrates, and also America, in turn, will have other accounts that may add and increase its strength in the north and east Syria because the geographical location north and east of Syria or geopolitics will increase in importance for the United States. Of course, this conflict is a struggle of existence or non-existence of the two dominant powers, namely Russia and America.
(Soundbite) Farid Saadoun, a political analyst and observer:
“In the Russian conflict in the region, especially its interventions in Ukraine, the first one who will pay the price is the Ukrainian people, even though they have no stake in this. Nevertheless, they are within the scope of these conflicts, so the greater impact will be on the Ukrainian people. When the Russians expand more, they would start to threaten Europe, thus, risking the start of a major war in Europe itself. About Syria, the Russian forces in Syria and the Russian presence in Syria are direct, and they run operations within Syria and have conflicts with powers who influence Syrian affairs like other global powers, not the least of which are the US and Turkey, as well as Iran. Therefore, when there are conflicts in one region, it includes several conflicts in other regions where such forces are deployed, and therefore Syria is ready to be part of these conflicts.”