Quotes: US 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 businesses 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
 Aug 1 2014 - India hires masked monkey men to combat macaque menaceKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E very talented group of men has taken to wearing monkey masks imitating their whoops and barks and hiding behind trees to ward off the aggressive animals.India has hired a ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Isolated indigenous make contact with outside world in BrazilKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Azilian experts said the indigenous people likely crossed the border from Peru facing pressure from illegal logging and drug trafficking at home.Isolated native people ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Hopes dim for India landslide survivorsKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Out 160 people were thought to have been living in the dozens of damaged houses.Women mourn a victim of the landslide in Malin village of Pune district in western Maharashtra ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Indian nurses stuck in Libya to be shifted from todayKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Acuation of Indians from the strife-torn Libya will begin on Friday with the first batch of 36 nurses from the southern state of Kerala moving to Tunisia in the morning on ...

 Aug 1 2014 - General Suhag takes over as the new India army chiefKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Neral Dalbir Singh Suhag on Thursday took over as the new chief of the 1.General Suhag assumed charge after his predecessor handed over to him the Chief of Army Staff baton ...

 Aug 1 2014 - European Union formally adopts Russia sanctionsKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E new measures finally agreed earlier this week after months of hesitation target Russias banking defence and energy sectors.The European Union formally adopted broad ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Train hits bus with bridal party in Bangladesh 10 killedKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Lice said the accident occurred at an unguarded railway crossing allowing cars and buses to move freely across the track during the early hours of Friday.A train smashed into ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Gas blasts kill 24 injure 271 in TaiwanKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) E explosions believed to have been triggered by gas leaking from underground pipelines were powerful enough to upturn cars and tear open paved roads.Vehicles are left lying ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Friends CC GM score easy victories to enter Al Faraa T20 semisKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The quarter-final matches Friends CC defeated Emistate by four wickets while GM CC coasted to a six-wicket victory over X Eleven.Friends CC defeated Emistate. — ...

 Aug 1 2014 - Romelu Lukaku lost focus as was not first choice says MourinhoKhaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Joined Chelsea from Anderlecht for 18 million in 2011 but failed to make an impact at Stamford Bridge and spent the 2012-13 season on loan at West Bromwich Albion.Jose ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help