Smuggling of goods between Lebanon and Syria has resumed in recent months as markets in Damascus are suffering from a shortage, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.
Before the Syrian war had erupted, the moved goods were limited to western products that were not sold in Syria, whereas smugglers are today sending bananas, cigarettes, fuel and gas canisters, claims one taxi driver who has been working the Beirut-Damascus route for 27 years.
As western sanctions hit Damascus and the local currency plunged against the U.S. dollar, prices in Syria have soared.
For instance, the newspaper mentioned, a gas canister is being sold at some 10,000 pounds on the black market in Syria, while it only costs 6,500 pounds when transported from Lebanon.
The strange thing, the taxi driver noted, was that security forces at border checkpoints do not scrutinize the gas canisters he is carrying in his taxi.
“The regime is aware of the fuel shortage and has ordered security forces to look the other way," he said.