Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Syria displaced revive coastal economy  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 22/05/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN - AFP) A massive influx of displaced families, mainly from Aleppo, to Syria's coast has boosted Latakia, a city whose economy heavily relied on its port and summertime tourism before the war.

"People here on the coast are more relaxed," said Haytham Ahmad, who heads Latakia governorate's media office.

"We like to get up late, sip our coffee and smoke our nargileh (water-pipes) before we go to work. But people from Aleppo can't live if they aren't working from morning till night," he said.

Latakia's population has doubled with the arrival of a million people fleeing violence in the northern city of Aleppo, Homs in central Syria and Idlib in the northwest.

The loyalist province has remained mostly untouched by Syria's three-year war, and unlike the rest of the country, its economy is booming.

"There is a real economic boom. (The displaced) have got things moving, and the jobless have found work," said Sami Sufi, who heads the province's chamber of commerce and industry.

"People from Aleppo have a knack for business, and they've headed out to the nearby countryside to set up detergent, cosmetics and even food packaging factories," Sufi added.

Food, cheese and cable-making workshops have also sprung up on the outskirts of Latakia, where rent is cheaper.

An Aleppo-born merchant who realised there was only one man in Latakia selling kaak, or traditional Levantine sesame bread, set up his own business. He now produces kaak in large quantities and distributes the delicacy throughout the province.

Even Aleppo's famed olive oil-based soap-makers have found their way to Latakia, and they are now exporting their produce to the United States from the Mediterranean port city.

Abandoned for years, the industrial zone is now buzzing with activity, as textile, metal and mechanical workshops have filled the space out entirely.

Hassan Shobak, who produces tanker trucks, was the first to set up shop there, after he shut down his 4,000 square metre (43,000 square foot) factory in Aleppo at the start of 2013.

"We gave life to this empty place. Today, I have four workshops, and there isn't a single metre (yard) available, even as the owners raise the rent," said 46-year-old Shobak, who employs 40 workers and sells his goods both within Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world.

"If the municipality gives us more space, we could set up a huge factory like in Aleppo. I am sure many industry owners who closed down their business because of the crisis would come here," Shobak said.

- 'We love to work' -

Aleppo was once Syria's economic hub, until it became consumed by violence after a major rebel onslaught in July 2012 that has split the city into opposition and regime-held territories.

Several districts of the ancient city have been reduced to rubble by heavy bombing and fighting, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

People displaced from other parts of Syria have also sought refuge in Latakia.

Businessmen from Homs focus primarily on solar energy production, while those from Idlib concentrate on mechanics and electronics.

Latakia city's commercial district has also become intensely vibrant thanks to the influx.

Omar Summak used to make hummus -- the Levant's favourite chickpea-based dip -- in the east of Aleppo. But when his city became a war zone, he put his family in his pickup truck, and they made their way to Latakia.

Once he reached the coast, the 30-year-old started out by selling vegetables.

"But after passing through Anana street, I realised no one was selling accessories and trinkets," said Summak, standing in front of his truck, which he had filled with brightly-coloured bracelets, plastic necklaces and earrings.

Prior to the war, Latakia's economy would thrive during the summer, thanks to the inflow of tourists.

Now, beach resorts have become home to displaced families.

Some 600 villas near Blue Beach, in the north of Latakia, have been full for two years, despite soaring rental prices.

Sitting on the beach with his two wives and eight children, 35-year-old Mohammad Sankar says he left Aleppo nearly two years ago.

"We love to work and do business. Look at me, I left my city because of the security situation, and 10 days after I arrived I reopened my sweet factory here," Sankar said.

The businessman has also teamed up with a Latakia native to set up a sausage factory.

"Business is good, but of course, should the army retake Aleppo, I will return. I love Syria but my heart is still in my city."

The downside to the influx, said Daad Juni, a 45-year-old shop attendant, has been the massive increase in prices.

"Prices have doubled since they (the displaced) came -- including apartment and shop rental costs, and food. But we don't complain, business is very good."



  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 25 2015 - Saudi Smart Boat innovation honored in Copenhagen 2 RiyadhSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Al-Shamakhi went on to say that he also provided his smart boat with special submerging telecommunication means attached to the boat's draft using sound waves to ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Saudi- Custodian of Two Holy Mosques receives Speakers of GCC Shura Representatives and National CouncilsSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh Safar 13 1437 November 25 2015 SPA -- The Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received at Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh today the ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Kuwaiti Crown Prince receives GCC Ministers of Commerce and IndustrySaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Kuwait 13 Safar 1437 AH November 25 2015 SPA -- Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the Crown Prince of Kuwait received here today the Ministers of Commerce and ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Saudi- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques receives Executive President and Founder of World Economic ForumSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh 13 Safar 1437 AH November 25 2015 SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received at Al-Yamamah Palace here today the ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Crown Prince heads Saudi delegation to GCC Interior Ministers meetingSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Doha afar 13 1437November 25 2015SPA -- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior arrived here today to head the ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Speakers of GCC Shura Representatives and National Councils meet in Riyadh 2 RiyadhSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Addressing the meeting the Speaker of Shura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh welcomed the Speakers of Shura Representatives National and ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Saudi- Dr. Abdullah Al Rabiah receives Swiss ambassadorSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh Safar 13 1437 November 25 2015 SPA -- Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabi'ah Advisor at the Royal Court and General Supervisor for Riyadh-based King Salman ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Saudi- National Guard Minister receives French AmbassadorSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Riyadh Safar 13 1437 November 25 2015 SPA -- Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Minister of National Guard received here today the ambassador of France to the ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Germany plans to send 650 troops to MaliSaudi Press Agency
(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Berlin Safar 13 1437 November 25 2015 SPA -- The German government plans to send up to 650 troops to Mali to help with the peacekeeping mission in the West African ...

 Nov 25 2015 - Turkey- G20 Communiqu: " The fight against terrorism is a major priority "The Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Following the two-day summit in Antalya Turkey G-20 leaders released a communiqué calling for greater coordination and information to counter terrorist ...




Click to Apply


Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help