The Arab Spring protests reached Syria in March 2011, the pro-democracy uprising, initially demanding reforms, soon turned into a civil war and violence escalated as a result of the government forces utilizing brutality to suppress the civil movement. More than seven years of conflict lead to the deaths of over 400,000 Syrians; millions were forcibly displaced, and the country is devastated economically. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than four million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and an estimated 6.1 million people have been displaced within Syria, bringing the total number of expelled Syrians to a staggering 11.5 million (UNHCR 2017).
Studies of the Syrian civil war have largely focused on topics such as refugees and casualties and have left the crucial topic of employment greatly under-researched. Understanding changes in the composition of the job market will greatly enhance reconstruction efforts in post-war Aleppo as it allows a better understanding of the availability and quality of the labour force.
In late 2014 and early 2015, The Aleppo Project surveyed 1001 Aleppians about many issues.
This paper focuses on the two questionnaire items related to current professions of the respondents and their previous professions. The major findings of this paper include:
The composition of the job market has pointedly changed due to the conflict
Unemployment more than doubled due to the conflict. This applies to Aleppians within the city and abroad
Differences in the rate of unemployment among Aleppians are largely explained by gender, age, education, and the neighbourhood from which the respondents come.
I believe that policymakers in post-war Aleppo will be faced with very high unemployment rates as the returnees with the fewest economic opportunities abroad come to Aleppo first to seek jobs. Ignoring the unemployed might ignite new unrest and could make the process of reintegration and reconciliation harder.
Ordinary Syrian people are going to extraordinary lengths, risking everything to protect their heritage, despite the horror that has engulfed their country. For them, it is not a question of people or stones. The story of the people is embedded in those stones, a crafted story stretching back millennia. Saving that story is saving Syria. Dr. Emma Cunliffe. Research Associate, Oxford University.
After months of ‘dynamic stalemate,’ the military situation to the north of Aleppo city shifted dramatically over the past few weeks. Government and allied forces took control of strategic towns on the Aleppo-Gaziantep road, disconnecting eastern Aleppo city from the northern countryside and Turkey. The city is still connected with Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in the western part of Idlib province.
When the drought in Syria started in 2008, the United Nations issued an appeal for funding for food aid for the many farmers whose crops had failed and animals had either been sold or died. In August the next year, with the drought getting worse and lasting longer than any other on record, another international appeal for help was announced. By the end of 2009, it had raised just 14 percent of what was needed.
“We liberated the rural parts of Aleppo province. We waited and waited for Aleppo City to rise, and it didn’t. We couldn’t rely on them to do it for themselves so we had to bring the revolution to them.” Those were the words in July 2012 of Abu Hashish, a commander from a village in the country near Aleppo. The conflict had indeed spread from the Idleb countryside to northern Aleppo in the early part of the year but only reached the city in July.