KOBANI, Syria (North Press) – The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in northeast Syria announced on Thursday the inauguration of the first foodstuff factory in the country’s northern town of Kobani.
The Syrian government, under complete control of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, banned factories and universities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish north since 1960, until the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and the establishment of the Kurdish-led administration.
The Autonomous Administration’s Economic Authority opened a foodstuff factory called Khairat Al-Furat in the Qena Village west of Kobani.
North Press toured the factory, observing about 60 workers, most of whom are women, operating the factory.
The factory, which belongs to the public sector, manufactures jam, molasses, tomatoes, and peppers, in addition to spices, workers told North Press.
Factory director Kameran Omar told North Press that establishing the factory came as a response to the economic crisis and the tremendous rise in food prices in the region, especially after collapse of the local currency.
“We opened this factory to ease the burden on residents, who find it difficult to buy expensive products from the market,” he said.
"Despite the short period that has passed since the opening of the factory, it became clear to us that it has a great benefit to the workers in the factory and the population,” he continued.
He added that the goal of factory is not to make profit, but to benefit from the region’s resources and achieve self-sufficiency.
Most workers said they were happy to have a spirit of cooperation with their work, and a sense of responsibility in their human duty to contribute to and support to the region's economy.
Amina Ali, a worker in the factory, said she joined the work to provide foodstuffs that the people of the region need.
“We work with all our efforts to achieve progress in an economic field to find a balance between supply and demand, and we seek with time to export foodstuffs out of the region."
Young worker Fatima Bouzan expressed her joy over the factory’s opening.
“This project is a step towards progress and prosperity, as it has great benefit to workers here who were in urgent need of work,” she said.
For about five decades, northern Syria lacked economic projects that met the needs of the population. Currently, the Autonomous Administration is working on security and stability projects to clear the region from ISIS cells and terror groups, meaning that economic projects can sometimes be a second-tier priority.
(Reporting by Victor Mustafa, editing by Hisham Arafat and Lucas Chapman)