In any given war that has gone on for a long time, it is not unusual for the people to adjust their lives to the new realities surrounding them. Syria, whose war has now gone on for six years, is no exception. In Daraa, this adjustment has manifested itself in the form of increased reliance on local industries.
For much of the war, the southern countryside of Daraa including the provincial borders with Jordan have remained open. With highways that connect directly to the capital Jordan, Amman, the people of Daraa were able to import many of the commodities needed from their southern neighbour.
Since the Syrian Army lost control of the Nasib Border Crossing in 2015, however, trade across the border has become increasingly unreliable. The Jordanian Government was concerned that the instability and growing militant activity in southern Syria could have an adverse impact on itself. With imports growing unreliable and expensive by the day, the people of Daraa have begun exploring options for local production.
The locally-produced commodities such as detergents have proven to be a hit with the people of Daraa. Many of them have lost their incomes since the war begun and the cheaper prices are therefore a highly attractive option. Demand for such items has risen dramatically, displacing the market share of nearly all imported brand commodities.
Despite the optimistic outlook, some problems continue to hamper production and efficiency. For instance, fuel and raw materials remain expensive. Many such items are imported from the areas controlled by the Syrian Government and the prices tend to go up with each checkpoint. Furthermore, although the region has remained calm since the last round of fighting five months ago, a sudden escalation remains a very real risk. Water prices and availability also remains a concern due to the on-going drought that has affected Daraa particularly heavily.
Still, it is evident that little by little, the people of Daraa are rebuilding their lives and adjusting to the new realities on the ground. The growth of local industries here is just but one sign of the locally-sourced reconstruction efforts that have been seen all over Daraa. If things do remain calm, such efforts may lead the path to a steady economic redevelopment.