Quotes: 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
 Mar 29 2015 - Omani USD120m theme park project to be set in 2017MENAFN
(MENAFN) Omani biggest theme park project, which is worth USD120 million, is set for completion by 2017, according to the organizers, Arabian Business reported.Majarat Oman will be built over an area ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Uruguay beat Morocco friendlyKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Moroccan national football team lost to Uruguay 0-1 in the western coastal city of Agadir on Saturday night.Edinson Cavani turned a penalty into a friendly ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Kuwait-State allotments for citizens employed in private sector at KD 2.4 blnKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Secretary General of the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) Fauzi Al-MajdaliKUWAIT, March 29 (KUNA) - The State of Kuwait spent approximately KD ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Korean firm eyes generating USD275m after Mideast expansionMENAFN
(MENAFN) Busan-headquartered South Korean securities exchange operator, Korea Exchange (KRX), is opting for further expansion with regard to its trading platform in Mena region, Gulf Times ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Kuwait-Kuwait underlines state's commitment to Syrian refugees - Zakat HouseKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait's affirmative response to the UN in hosting aid-pledging talks for a third year backs the UN decision to name the gulf nation a Humanitarian Centre, ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Kuwait-Kuwait stocks close upKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed up on Sunday with all the three main indexes edging up, making up for sharp losses it sustained last week.The Price Index, ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Kuwait-Minister of Defense receives China, Georgia, Brazil envoysKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah received here on Sunday a number of ambassadors and tackled issues of common ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Mexico-Arab Cultural Week in Mexico concludesKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Arab Cultural Week in Mexico, which began on March 22nd, concluded here Sunday with the participation of a number of Arab diplomats, including Kuwaiti ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Qatari firms, Chinese Dongming sign transaction dealMENAFN
(MENAFN) Chinese Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group signed a transaction deal with Suhaim Bin Hamad Enterprise Group and Qattra Investment and Development Group (QID), The Peninsula Qatar ...

 Mar 29 2015 - Arab, Islamic, Gulf body chiefs meet in Sharm El-SheikhKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, March 29 (KUNA) - The Secretary-Generals of the Arab League, OIC, GCC, and Arab Maghreb Union held a consultative meeting here Sunday on ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


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