Syrian Kurds to Halt Wheat Shipments to Govt Territory

Kurds expect surging harvest, but want to build a stockpile

In a move that’s likely to be a major problem for government-controlled parts of Syria, the Syrian Kurdish regional authorities have announced that they will ban all wheat exports into government territory, with an eye toward growing their own stockpile of food.

That’s going to be a lot of wheat. Syrian Kurdish territory includes a lot of the fertile territory in Syria’s north and east. After 350,000 tonnes harvested last year, the expectation is that they’ll be getting 900,000 tonnes of wheat.

It’s a big problem for Syria. Last year, they bought 100,000 tonnes of wheat. This year they probably were going to want even more, as fighting in the northwest, another fertile area, has left a lot of fields burned and destroyed on both sides.

This could easily evolve into another of those wars where food is a weapon, as with the Saudi war in Yemen. Syrian government territory isn’t going to produce enough food to feed everyone there, and US and Western sanctions are going to make it extremely difficult for Syria to import food from anywhere else.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.