DAMASCUS, 30 June 2008 (IRIN) –
“Everything is more difficult to afford now, and it will get worse,” he said, amid the dough and ovens of his bakery in the middle class district of Shalan in Damascus.

The Syrian finance minister has said withdrawing bread subsidies is a “red line”, but failing harvests and soaring international wheat prices may be forcing a re-think

The availability of cheap food has been a cornerstone Syrian domestic economic policy.

However, there are growing doubts among ordinary people and analysts as to how much longer the country can remain relatively insulated from the global food crisis which has sparked riots in over 30 countries, including Egypt, where a similar authoritarian socialist government is in place.

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