Boys use a bucket to extract water from a well in Arbeen, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, in this May 6, 2014.(REUTERS/Diaa Al-Din)
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As Syria approaches a presidential election in the midst of its civil war, the capital has avoided the worst of the conflict but reminders are increasingly coming out of the water taps and appearing on the dinner table.Before the war, the government of President Bashar Assad maintained tight control on food prices and quality. In Damascus, people notice the small changes – daily staples soaring in price, sometimes selling at three or four times what they used to be, with the quality plummeting.Before the war, the authorities kept a close watch on dairy makers to deter cheating and enforced fixed prices, forcing producers to compete with each other based solely on quality and taste.Now, it varies between 400 SP to 1,300 SP ($8.70), the latter closer to Abu Mostafa's prices.The outlying district of Ghouta was long one of the main food supply sources for Damascus but it has been in rebel hands for almost two years, rendering most of its produce, poultry and meat inaccessible to Damascenes.
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