D24 exclusive report:
Amid the crippling siege imposed on civilians living in Assad-controlled parts of Deir Ezzor, and its severe implications ranging from the increase of food prices to the disappearance of many essential goods from the markets etc, a commercial private company named Al-Qaterji, which sells food items at extremely high prices, has emerged as the only thriving company.
Houssam Qaterji, who is a member of Assad parliament in the city of Aleppo, owns Qaterji Company. Food commodities are most of the time delivered to the company by cargo planes. Its activities have noticeably increased and flourished due to the siege laid on Deir Ezzor by Daesh, monopolization of food items and the strong ties Houssam has with decision-making in the Assad-regime.
The company claims that it aims at reducing food prices, while several sources in besieged Deir Ezzor have indicated that its main goal has always been focused on making as much profits as possible. For instance: It has recently distributed 2 kg of tomatoes to trapped civilians at a price mounting to 3000 SYP. The price of 1 kg of onions has also been sold for 2,000 SYP. The sources confirm that these prices are unaffordable in light of the siege.
Samir from the besieged neighborhoods said that, “Qaterji has an approval from the Assad-regime to transport his food commodities by the regime air defense command. He is a partner of Rami Makhlouf, cousin of Bashar Al-Assad. His company in besieged Dier Ezzor is guarded by elements from the air defense.”
The titanic revenues which have been realized by the company through manipulation of food prices, have led to a tension between the security branches in the province over the way the revenues should be divided among them.
A group of Assad-regime criminal security members recently raided a shop in Al-Joura neighborhood and confiscated all food items inside. It turned out later that the confiscated food items, which had been dropped by cargo planes over the besieged neighborhood, were meant to reach trapped civilians. The shop owner took advantage from his close ties with Assad-regime to use the airdropped food for his own interests.
Civilians in Deir Ezzor who are caught between the exploitation of Assad security branches and Daesh siege are the most affected.