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 2 2014 - HH the Emir Issues Decision on Al Ruwais PortQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Thursday Emiri decision no. 76 for 2014 Qatar Al Ruwais Port. The decision was regarding the allocation of the areas needed for the ...

 Oct 2 2014 - KOC Plans to Reach 3.5 bln Cubic Feet of Gas Production by 2030Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for gas exploration in the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) Menahi Al-Enezi said the company has worked to implement a range of future projects to raise ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Qatar Stock Exchange Gains 72.35 PointsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Qatar Stock Exchange index gained 72.35 points (+0.53%) ahead of Eid Al Adha holidays when the bourse closed trading at 13,830.90 points here Thursday. The trading value increased to ...

 Oct 2 2014 - QSE Index Declines 44.07 Points This WeekQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Qatar Stock Exchange index declined 44.07 points (-0.32%) this week when the bourse closed at 13,830.90 points Thursday. The trading value of QR 2,743,186,035.05 is an increase by ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Culture Minister heads to Paris to Attend Qatar Prix de l'Arc de TriompheQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) HE the Minister of Culture Arts and Heritage Dr. Hamad Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, on Thursday headed to Paris to attend the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which is witnessing Qatari ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Summary of Local News ReleasedWednesdayQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) A summary of local news released Wednesday by Qatar News Agency. - HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani sent Wednesday a cable of congratulations to President of the Republic ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Lebanese Minister: Setting Camps for Displaced Syrians in Lebanon out of DiscussionsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas stressed on Thursday that the cabinet is destined to achieve solidarity and overcome disagreements. Derbas told (Voice of Lebanon) ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Egyptian Authorities Shutdown Rafah Border CrossingQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - QNA) The Egyptian authorities decided Thursday to shutdown Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Rafah border crossing will be shut down as of Friday October 3rd until ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Fakeih: No MERS cases in MakkahArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) No cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported among pilgrims in Makkah said Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih after inspecting ...

 Oct 2 2014 - Markaz 37th anniversary campaign starts in RiyadhArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Jamia Markaz of Kerala which plays an important role in promoting Islamic education in the south Indian state of Kerala will celebrate its 37th anniversary on Dec. 18 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