Jan. 21 - Street markets affected but still bustling in Syria despite crisis. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The Hamadiya Souk in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Everything from electronics to spices are available at the market and buyers still fill the market's ancient hallways despite the country's 10-month long political crisis. The Arab League, Turkey, the European Union and the United States have all imposed sanctions on Syria for a bloody government crackdown on protesters. Merchants are feeling the squeeze. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SELLER, HASSAN AL-ASHKAR, SAYING: "In general we couldn't say that there was no business the whole week. But it has gone down. There has been an obvious decline that has affected everybody, especially during this situation we are in. But I hope everything starts to get better. " Syria said on Friday that Western sanctions on Syrian oil exports have cost the country $2 billion since September. And on Monday, the EU may expand its sanctions. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FABRIC SELLER, GHYATH DIAB, SAYING: "It has not only affected me but all the market stalls. And the sanctions imposed by the Arab League on Syria have affected the situation and played a big role. But since the country is self sufficient and it doesn't owe any money, we could get through it. But this year doesn't even compare with last year. Before the crisis there was a large trade in Syria." While all is quiet at the Hamadiya market, violence continues to rage in other parts of the country. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.