Infographic: Northeast Syria Trade Dynamics

3 June 2020

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The recent re-opening of the M4 highway between Tel Tamr and Ain Issa is arguably the most significant instance of pragmatic political cooperation between the Self Administration and the Government of Syria in recent memory. The deal is also an important development commercially. The M4 is the main artery guaranteeing commercial traffic, as well as personal mobility and humanitarian access, in Syria’s resource-rich and sparsely populated northeast. As Syria slides deeper into the economic misery brought on by rapid currency devaluation, commercial activity will become a subject of greater importance, and supply chains, transportation networks, and trade barriers will come into focus as issues of foremost concern. Relying on field-based primary research, this infographic breaks down the main commercial trade dynamics in northeast Syria as they exist today. How and if these patterns will shift over time remains to be seen. However, if the past is prologue, commercial trade dynamics will be shaped not only by the law of supply and demand, but also by the overall balance of relations between the territorial actors involved.