Syria buying 100,000 tonnes wheat from international market

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A Syrian woman carries a sack of food as she walks past Free Syria Army fighters patrolling a street in the Old City of Aleppo. Photo – Marco Longari/AFP

European traders said Monday that they have received a tender to purchase and import 100,000 tons of soft wheat of bread-making quality from Syria’s state grains agency. Bidding deadline is 1 October, origin of which is optional.

Shipment was sought within two months from the opening of a letter of credit on the purchase, the traders added.

The tender was issued by the Syrian state agency General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade, which sought offers in euros.

The United Nations says Syria is facing food shortages as tens of thousands of families leave their homes due to heavy fighting in the country and with the harvest neglected during the conflict.

Western governments have excluded wheat from the crippling sanctions imposed on Syria because of the regime’s attempts to suppress the uprising.

Trade sources said a reluctance among foreign banks, shipowners and grain traders to sell and transport grain to Syria – even though food is not itself subject to sanctions – had forced Damascus into an array of unusually small wheat purchase deals in past months, many arranged by dealers around the Middle East and Asia.

Syria had on 13 September bought 50,000 tons of wheat in a tender seeking 100,000 tons. The country has been seeking to purchase large amount of wheat, a commodity not subject to Western sanctions, amid a bloody civil war that is severely affecting 20 million plus population.

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