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Foreign labourers work at the construction site of a building in Riyadh Foreign workers on a building site in Riyadh; thousands of migrants who have the right to work in Saudi Arabia could have their work permit fees covered for four years from the date of recognition

Saudi Arabia will pay costs of normalising migrants’ status

Saudi Arabia said this week it will take on the costs of normalising the status of displaced individuals from neighbouring countries in what could amount to amnesty for thousands of illegal migrants and refugees.  “The state assumes the costs on behalf of individuals permitted to stay and rectify their status among the displaced from neighbouring […]

Arada project Syria

Sharjah developer launches Syria home-building campaign

The Sharjah developer Arada has launched its third annual Ramadan charity campaign, pledging to build homes for displaced families in Syria.  For every house sold at Arada’s real estate developments during the holy month, the company will build a home for a Syrian family affected by recent conflict and the February 2023 earthquakes. The “Home […]

Man watching tv and eating popcorn at home on a couch, back view

In the streaming age, the TV stays on after Ramadan

YouTube creators and streaming services are changing the face of television all over the world – but particularly in Arab countries, according to executives who attended the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah this month. The entertainment industry in the Middle East traditionally focused on the fasting month, when TV shows could find a captive […]

Phosphate mining in Morocco

Future is rosy for Mena phosphate producers

With Morocco and Saudi Arabia now holding the bulk of the world’s high-quality, accessible phosphate rock reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is a major centre for the phosphate mining industry’s future growth, analysts say. Morocco alone holds around 70 percent of the world’s total reserves of phosphate rock, the raw material […]

Syrian president appoints new oil minister in cabinet reshuffle

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has appointed a new oil minister and changed four other ministers in a cabinet reshuffle, state media said on Wednesday. Hassan Kaddour, who was the general director of the Syrian Petroleum Company for the last two years, replaces Bassam Touma as oil minister, the report said. Assad named Mohsen Abdelkarim […]

World Bank estimates Syria needs $7.9bn for reconstruction

The World Bank on Monday said the February earthquakes are expected to have caused Syria’s real GDP output to contract by 5.5 percent in 2023, with recovery and reconstruction needs estimated at $7.9 billion over three years. The World Bank said its rapid damage and needs assessment report estimates the earthquakes that hit northern and […]

Outdoors, Water, Railway

Syria suspends hydropower operations amid low water levels

Local authorities in northeast Syria will suspend operations at a hydroelectric dam for a week because of low water levels, two officials said on Wednesday, leaving several million people at risk of power outages. The Tishreen dam in the northern province of Aleppo will be out of service from Wednesday until March 8, an online […]

Turkey and Syria quake: Nations extend support and aid

Governments and international organisations from around the world have responded with offers of support after an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck central Turkey and northwest Syria. Below is a list of some of those announcements of support: UAE The UAE said it would set up a field hospital in Turkey and dispatch search and rescue […]

Road, Truck, Vehicle

Syria steps up fuel rationing as shortages hit mobile network

Syria announced on Tuesday it would cut the amount of fuel it provides to government employees to help address shortages that have knocked out a number of mobile phone towers. Prime Minister Hussein Arnous ordered a 40 percent cut in the amount of fuel provided to government employees and restrictions on official travel for non-urgent […]

Syria weakens official exchange rate to US dollar by 7%

Syria’s central bank has weakened its official exchange rate to 3,015 Syrian pounds to the dollar, a central bank statement said on Monday, while black market rates used for most economic activity sat around 4,440. The official rate was previously set at 2,814. Monday’s softening of the official rate represents a loss in value of […]

Crushed by war, Syrian tourism eyes expat uptick

Somar Hazim had high hopes when he opened a hotel in Damascus in 2009, adding to a growing number of boutique guest houses in the Old City that were proving to be a hit with tourists, before war broke out and forced him to close down. Although security returned to Damascus years ago, big-spending foreign […]

Person, Human, Clothing

UN aid to Syria from Turkey to be allowed until January

The UN Security Council appears set to allow UN deliveries of aid to some four million people in northwest Syria from Turkey until January, diplomats said on Monday, after days of wrangling with Russia over how long to let the huge operation continue. The mandate for the operation, which has been delivering food, medicine and […]

A worker displays grains of wheat at a mill in Lebanon, where the cost of a loaf of bread rose 70 percent in March

Ukraine war drives Gulf to double down on food security

As the war in Ukraine has pushed up food prices and disrupted supply chains, hard-hit Mena countries explore ways to protect themselves In Abu Dhabi clusters of fresh tomatoes are growing inside rows of climate-controlled greenhouses in the middle of the desert – just one example of the lengths the arid region must go to […]

In Syria, business hub hopes to drive recovery from war

In an industrial zone in northern Syria’s rebel-held city of Al-Bab, Abu Omar al-Shihabi’s smelter churns out iron bars he says can compete with any produced in Syria and beyond. The industrial zone is an unlikely business hub. It is located on the edge of a city which was once occupied by Islamic State and […]

In north Syria, business hub hopes to drive recovery

In an industrial zone in northern Syria’s rebel-held city of Al-Bab, Abu Omaral-Shihabi’s smelter churns out iron bars he says can compete with any produced in Syria and beyond. The industrial zone is an unlikely business hub. It is located on the edge of a city which was once occupied by Islamic State and now […]