Aid & Development

Ramadan is providing the city of Qamishli with an economic boost

Syria

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins this evening and the people of Qamishli, in northeastern Syria, are preparing for their night-time iftar feasts.

In Qamishli, a city in north-eastern Syria, residents are preparing for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is due to begin this evening and end on the 14th June, followed by Eid al-Fitr celebrations on the 15th June.

Ramadan is providing the economy of Qamishli with a positive economic boost, as the city’s Muslim population prepare for the nightly iftar meal, which is often shared with friends and family.

At one bakery in the city, the staff are preparing to make new and distinctive sweets, as well as savoury foods, to be sold throughout Ramadan. Sweets provide a treat for those who are fasting during the holy month, as well as a much-needed sugar boost after a long day without any food and water.

“In Ramadan, people crave sweets a lot, so we are getting ready for that because it’s our best season,” said Ahmad Qasem, a sweet shop owner.

Qamishli is the de-facto capital of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (also known as Rojava), a Kurdish state project formed out of the north-eastern territories of Syria that were captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from Syrian Arab Army forces (SAA) and later ISIS.

Although control over Qamishli city is divided between the SDF and the SAA, the city has largely escaped the widespread destruction, that other cities in Syria have been subjected to during the country’s war.

Nevertheless, the economy of Qamishli has suffered as a result of the economic stagnation of the entire country as a consequence of seven years of conflict. Furthermore, the closure of the Nusaybin border crossing in 2014 has cut off the possibility of trade with neighbouring Turkey and the cross-border city of Nusaybin. It is hoped that Ramadan will revitalise Qamishli’s consumer economy, as many begin their grocery shopping ready for the celebrations of Ramadan over the next month.