Shopping Center Offers its Services to Afrin’s City People
The center, opened by citizens a month ago, provides the city’s people needs, both who are originally from Afrin and those who were displaced to it, as it consists of several commercial shops in one place, presenting all that a family demand.
The center, named “al-Khair Compound” (Benevolence), includes 33 shops, selling different types of food materials, electric devices, clothes, electronics, exchange offices and salty snacks, in addition to barbers and hairdressing shops, restaurants and cellphones sell and repair shops.
According to the center’s Director Abu Omran, the addressed project has been implemented under the presence of the Kurdish “Self-management,” as a shopping mall in the city of Afrin, northern Aleppo, alongside the cultural center.
However, following the Turkey-backed “Free Army” factions’ control over the city of Afrin last February, “Ahrar al-Sharqia” faction seized the compound and called it “al-Khair,” offering its shops for rent to those who wish, let them be of the original people of Afrin or others who were forcibly displaced to it.
The center’s director said that “al-Khair” compound has attracted many displaced people, especially from Eastern Ghouta, who are looking for a permeant source of living, pointing out that the rentals of the compound’s shops are less than the prices known outside.
The rentals inside the compound vary between $45 per month for the front shops and $25 for the hidden shops and those away from the compound’s facade.
Ahmad, a displaced man from eastern Ghouta and the owner of a “telecommunications” shop at “al-Khair” compound, said that he rented the shop for a monthly $50, telling Enab Baladi that rents outside the compound are very high, which displaced people cannot afford, as they vary between 150 to 300 dollars per months.
Khalid Abu Jihad, the owner of a clothes shop within “al-Khair” compound and a displaced man from eastern Ghouta, said that investing in the shopping center provides the shops with security protection. There is also cheaper rents and lower prices of commodities, in addition to the center’s attraction of a large number of people as it meets all that a family need and offers a range of services, according to Enab Baladi.
Khalid added that the owners of the shops are trying to sell commodities for “reasonable” prices, so as to achieve mutual benefit between the seller and the customer, especially that the displaced people need to buy a lot of things because they could not bring their belongings with them from the areas, of which they have been displaced.
The city of Afrin, northern Aleppo, received hundreds of displaced people from the countryside of Damascus during the past months, who settled in the camps of Jindires and villages of the region, while others were based at the city’s center.
Turkey launched a military operation against the (Kurdish)”People’s Protection Units” in Afrin on January 20, through which the “Free Army,” the operation’s principal force, managed to control the entire area in nearly two months.
The Turkish government supports Afrin’s councils, and some humanitarian organizations and associations are active there in order to respond to the needs of the families and the displaced people.