Feature: War, economic hardships cast shadows on Valentine's Day in Syria's capital

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-14 05:15:37|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Teddybears, roses and heart-shaped pillows are losing their glamor as the traditional Valentine's Day gifts this year in Damascus, capital of Syria, as the eight-year war and resulting economic hardships have stripped the majority of the people of the surprise of the happy day.

In the marketplaces of the Syrian capital, many merchants started on the wrong foot in an obvious recession, in addition to hard weather conditions.

Take the time-honored Hamidiyeh Souk, vendors there are sitting idly in their shops, hoping to sell the Valentine's gifts to the young people.

They said most of the people just come in the shops to ask about the prices and then leave "without sliding their hands in their pockets."

Muhammad, 41, a shop owner at the souk, was sitting near his shop and flipping between photos on his smartphone.

"The sales this year are so weak ... People used to come and buy gifts," he said.

Notably, despite the security improvement in the capital, many still feel uncomfortable about the situation, saying they are being haunted by something called post-war depression.

However, the most solid reason behind is the tough economic situation, which deteriorated recently as the Western powers, mainly the United States, tightened their sanctions on war-torn Syria.

On Jan. 24, the U.S. government announced additional sanctions on Syria as well as every entity that deals economically with the war-torn country.

Basic necessities such as electricity, cooking gas and the fuel for heating have become scarce.

Additionally, the value of the Syrian pound against the U.S. dollar has dropped 10 percent over the past few days.

Muhammad, the merchant, told Xinhua that a large number of young men over 18 are doing their mandatory military service in Syria, another reason for this year's less warm Valentine's Day.

However, Fadi, a 20-year-old man, told Xinhua that people should always focus on the upside of things.

"True that the economic situation is hard nowadays in Damascus, but people should be thankful for the return of peace to the capital," he said.