News / Middle East

Border Traders Hit Hard by Syrian Sanctions, Violence

Henry Ridgwell

The government crackdown in Syria is having economic reverberations across the region. In addition to sanctions imposed on Syria, many transport firms are finding it too risky to enter Syria. That's having consequences on traders on both sides of the frontier.

At the Cilvegozu border crossing in Turkey, the trickle of trucks, cars and people coming from Syria bear testament to the violence beyond the frontier. The latest arrivals are two cars bearing Saudi Arabian license plates. The doors and windows are ridden with bullet holes.

The Turkish occupants had been travelling back to their jobs in Saudi when they came under attack just a few kilometers into Syria. One of the drivers, Nesim Zeytinci describes what happened.

“We were driving in Syria," he said. "As we went over a bridge, we were attacked by some gunmen but we don’t know who they were. We sped off for around 500 meters under fire, then we turned off into a local neighborhood and the people there helped us. An ambulance came to take the injured passenger to hospital.”

There is now a permanent queue of trucks waiting on the Turkish side; drivers say sometimes it stretches 10 kilometers. Transport firms are increasingly wary of sending people and cargo into Syria.

“There is no security and the latest information we have is that on the Syrian side of the border they don’t give you your paperwork," said Mehmet Eski, who is supposed to be delivering drilling pipes to Dubai. "We were here waiting for a couple of days for our Saudi visas, we finally got those but now there is no security in Syria so we cannot go. Last night in the news,” he added, “the Foreign Minister and governor of Antakya warned people not to go to Syria unless they really have to.”

Eski’s transport company decided to re-route the shipment via Iraq - a much longer route and not without its own dangers.

But it’s not just the violence that’s hitting trade.

Turkey has imposed financial and travel sanctions on the Syrian government. The U.S. and the European Union are tightening their economic sanctions on Syrian banks and oil firms

But questions remain over their effectiveness, says London-based analyst Shashank Joshi of Royal United Services Institute.

“If the Arab League imposes very harsh sanctions, with the U.N. or by itself, would they be policed? We know Syria’s borders with Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq are long and porous, it’s very hard to police sanctions," said Joshi. "Just like we saw in the 1990's with Iraq, would oil embargoes or restrictions on goods really be effective, can we stop stuff coming in and out of Syria?”

Effective or not, Joshi says sanctions are the option of choice for keeping international pressure on the Syrian government. That leaves commerce in limbo with world powers lacking an appetite for military intervention as violence inside Syria worsens.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More