People are flocking to the markets of Deir ez-Zour ahead of this year's Eid celebrations, as traders are upbeat about a recent turn in their fortunes.
In the village market at al-Kuber, west of Deir ez-Zour City, traders have expressed their content as stocks are replenished and customers are returning in large numbers to buy food, clothes and other household items in the run-up to Eid.
Al-Kuber is currently administered by the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which took over large swaths of northern and north-eastern Syria from ISIS, including the city of Raqqa.
Local stall and shop owners in al-Kuber told reporters that the situation has improved on previous years, noting the business of the markets and a particularly high demand for sweets and clothes, which is now readily available and at reasonable prices. Local shoppers, meanwhile, also stated that their visit to the market is an opportunity to buy presents for all of the family.
Deir ez-Zour City, the capital of Deir ez-Zour Province, lived under siege from 2014 to 2017, as control of the city was split between the Syrian army and ISIS control. During the siege, ISIS cut off the power supply to the city, and widespread malnutrition and starvation struck civilians. In addition, as recently as last year, black markets of stolen goods dominated the market economy, a difference from the family-friendly marketplaces that have returned today.
Today, whilst the region continues to contend with isolated attacks from extremist militants operating locally, the turnouts at this year’s Eid markets and the enthusiasm of the traders leave little doubt that both the security and economic situations are on the mend following years of siege and criminal activity.