The largest bakery in the town of Rastan, northern Homs, has been reopened thanks to the efforts of the local council and the Ihsan Relief Foundation. The bakery had been closed for around 4 years after it was destroyed by aircraft missiles in clashes between rebels and the Syrian regime’s forces.
The bakery was moved from its previous location after it had been raided. What was left of the bakery was taken to the new location and used as the base for renovating the whole establishment.
The bakery is now functioning as normal and has a daily output of around 24,000 loaves of bread. Bread is one of the staples of food in Syria and the return of this bakery to the area will come to the great relief of the local population which has been suffering from a siege for a number of years.
Rastan is situated in a pocket of territory held by rebels from different factions in the northern parts of Homs, close to the border with Hama province. This area has been surrounded by government forces for a number of years, which has led to the deterioration of the state of the economy there.
Rastan has lacked in resources to help reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, which has been heavily damaged by fighting with the regime’s forces. At one point, there was even no water coming into the town.
The area in and around Rastan has been confirmed as one of the de-escalation zones in Syria on a number of occasions. Clashes have since been infrequent, although they do take place from time to time.
The siege on the Rastan area has meant that international humanitarian aid can only been provided with the Syrian regime’s permission. Humanitarian aid has been transferred to the area on occasion as access was granted by the regime, just like in the case of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.
Recently, the rebels of northern Homs have been pushed to re-negotiate the de-escalation agreement which will come to an end in mid-February. The regime’s push against rebels in Hama and Idlib portends offensives against the rebels of northern Homs in the near future.