Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Well-off Syrians create slice of home in Dubai  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 09/06/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) As Syria's conflict drags on, refugees who fled to the UAE have recreated a slice of home in the Gulf state, from popular Syrian restaurants to Damascus's iconic Hamidiyeh market.

Amid the gentle bubbling of water pipes and the clack of backgammon pieces, visitors to the Hamidiyeh restaurant reminisce about Damascus in the luxurious Dubai Marina district.

"This place attracts us because it makes us feel as if we are in Damascus," says Waleed Ayoub, a customer.

Like millions of his countrymen, Ayoub has left Syria, where peaceful protests for political change in March 2011 turned into a full-on civil war after a brutal government crackdown on the protesters.

With its mock up of the arched ceiling of Damascus' main old souq, Al-Hamidiyeh is one of many new restaurants and shops in the United Arab Emirates catering to Syrians nostalgic for their homelands.

Branches of the war-torn country's most popular eateries have sprung up around the UAE, which has mostly attracted "refugees" with the means to leave their country and establish themselves in the emirates.

Expensive cars with Damascus plates have become a common sight in the UAE, a destination inaccessible to most refugees due to the high cost of living and the difficulty of obtaining visas.

A two-year residency permit costs between 20,000 and 30,000 dirhams (5,400 to 8,100) and must be processed by a sponsor, Syrian residents say.

- High standards of living -

Unlike the millions who fled to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon -- where many are jammed into refugee camps -- Syrians in the UAE enjoy its high standard of living.

Many have even opened businesses.

In Sharjah, signs such as Al-Sham bakery, Damascus Olive, and Al-Zabadani Plain -- a reference to a town near the Syrian capital, parts of which are under opposition control -- line the main road in the emirate.

Among these is the family-run Nabeel Nafisa sweets, an offshoot of one of the most famous patisseries in Damascus.

"With the worsening situation in Syria and the relatively large Syrian community that has formed here, we considered opening a branch in Sharjah,'' says branch manager Abdelhadi Nafisa.

Nafisa has shut several branches in Syria, mainly those in the "hotspots on the outskirts" of Damascus, but his shops in the capital remain open.

While Nafisa's shop in Damascus is famous for the non-stop hustle with customers queueing to try its famous "kunafa" -- a sweet pastry filled with white cheese -- the new outlet in Sharjah is quiet.

Nafisa said obtaining the same ingredients used at home was difficult and some adjustments had to be made to certain recipes.

- Syrian businessmen lose out -

A few miles (kilometres) away, businessman Anas Mousatat has opened a branch of Tarboush, a popular restaurant in Syria's former business hub Aleppo -- swathes of which have been ruined by heavy fighting between government and rebel forces since summer 2012.

In Tarboush, amid the smell of grilled lamb kebabs Aleppo was famous for and the Levantine dialect spoken by most of its customers, it is difficult to remember that this is Sharjah.

When Mousatat first arrived in the UAE, he did not have business on his mind, he says, but as his enterprise in Aleppo nosedived, he opened the restaurant to earn his keep.

Although Syrian businessmen seem to be doing well in the UAE, many "have lost a lot already," according to Ahmed Edilbi, founder of Dubarah, an initiative connecting long-established Syrian businessmen in the UAE with their more recently arrived compatriots.

Syrians are unfamiliar with the UAE market and commercial laws, and rising living costs in the Gulf country are another setback, he said.

"More than half of upper-class Syrians who came here have now become middle-class after they spent their savings on failed investments and living costs," he says.

Mousatat, who says he too lost out financially, will "definitely" return to Syria if the situation improves.

But he admits he might keep the Gulf branch of his restaurant open for business.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 31 2014 - MC4-1 Rambowleros Zuhair Fayez 1 rule 10th KAMC Friendship GamesArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) In keeping with tradition the Employee Social Club and Recreation Services of King Abdulaziz Medical City-Jeddah Western Region held its 10th KAMC Friendship Bowling Games at ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Guardians overcome Absar host team Maskan Arabia bounces backArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) RIYADH: JOEY JULATON SALEMPowerhouse Guardians (Diablo) got the better of equally talented Absar team 108-104 in a high-scoring game during the second week of action in the 2nd ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Majid rolls perfect 300 Gilas back-to-back Team of Week in FTBJ-ICBL eventArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) For the second time in three weeks in leagues organized by Filipino Tenpin Bowlers of Jeddah perfect 300 game found a new owner in Majid Aslani.Following the lead of Randy Mata ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Al Faisaliah captures Inter-Hotels crownArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Al Faisaliah coached by Francis Balanquit finished off Sheraton Riyadh Hotel & Towrs by winning Game 3 of the best-of-three championship series 75-72 in a pulsating contest ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Lahore Lions win thriller against KFSHArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) RIYADH: Lahore Lions scored a thrilling six-wicket win over King Faisal Specialist Hospital in a seventh round match of the American Express Twenty20 cricket tournament organized ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Desert Warriors goes down fighting to ARM Afroz slams ton for TamerArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) JEDDAH: Desert Warriors went down fighting to ARM by six runs in the Ace Travel Premier League division morning session week-seven match organized by the Jeddah Cricket ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Amman accuses Israel of 'state terrorism' in JerusalemArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) AMMAN: Jordan on Thursday accused Israel of 'state terrorism' after it closed Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound the third holiest site in Islam.Israel said its ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Most erring doctors have master's Ph.D. degreesArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) A whopping 70 percent of medical practitioners who have committed medical errors over the last five years hold master's and doctoral degrees local media said quoting a report ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Energy efficient appliances and insulated houses can save powerArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Uninsulated buildings cars and industrial activity consume 90 percent of the energy produced in Saudi Arabia an expert from the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (SEEC) said ...

 Oct 31 2014 - Saudi- Conference encourages media voluntarismArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) A media volunteer group held its second media volunteers conference on Wednesday night at the Dar Al-Uloom University's auditorium in the Saudi capital.'This conference aims to ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

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