• Sidon

  • Thursday, December 21, 2023 at 7:28 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 6:05 AM

Sidon Markets Suffer Economic Hardship Amid Tensions in South Lebanon

(AWP) - The usually bustling market crowds during this time of the year in the city of Sidon, known as the gateway to the Lebanese south, are absent, and there is a noticeable lack of a Christmas atmosphere and decorations compared to last year.

The Israeli war in Gaza, along with the tensions and mutual shelling along the southern borders with Israel, have taken their toll on Sidon, situated adjacent to Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, approximately 60 kilometres from the southern borders.

According to Wael Kasab, a member of the Sidon Merchants Association, the war in Gaza and southern border tensions have negatively impacted market movement in the city during the Christmas holidays, compounded by a decline in residents’ purchasing power.

Shop owner Hassan Bardawil expressed his hopes that the commercial scene will change in Sidon once government employees receive their salaries.

He said, "The movement in the markets is very low compared to last year, when buying and selling was very strong. We are hoping that the government employees’ salaries, despite being low, will be paid early, but overall activity has declined significantly; less than 20% compared to last year’s rates."

Following a tour around the city’s markets, Sidon resident Sally Keniar noticed the lack of a festive atmosphere in the city, saying that "market activity is very low, to the extent it can’t be felt."

Her comments were echoed by another resident, Tala Abdallah, who said that the absence of market customers is a result of the ongoing tensions in the south of Lebanon.

She said, "Due to the war in the south, and we in Sidon being the gateway to the south [of Lebanon], market activity has been greatly affected. There is no commercial or Christmas atmosphere, nothing at all."