Near the al-Mutanabbi roundabout in Idleb, Maamoun found a small space where he could set up a small kiosk, or what is known in the local dialect as a “barakia,” to serve hot drinks. This would be a fitting option for him and an alternative to renting a shop that would cost between 100 and 200 dollars, a huge sum he cannot afford. In order to start a business to support his family, Maamoun had to borrow money from one of his relatives to buy an espresso machine.
Across Idleb, and the rest of the governorate’s areas, “barakias” can be spotted on the sidewalks. One has vegetables and fruits on display, the other foodstuffs, another is a makeshift men’s barbershop, while one is for repairing car tires, among others. The owners are mostly forcibly displaced youths who are unable to rent commercial spaces to practice their professions.
A number of owners told Baladi News that they were threatened by the authorities and asked to remove their kiosks “due to occupying public facilities.” In order to be able to keep their kiosks, however, owners have to obtain a license and pay a monthly fee to the municipal council, ranging from 30 to 100 Turkish liras. The fee varies according to the size of the kiosk.
The reactions to the spread of kiosks vary. There are supporters who find owning a kiosk an opportunity for young people to have work instead of having to ask others for help. Others see that kiosks occupy sidewalks, constitute an obstacle for cars, and inconvenience pedestrians, which contributes to congestion.
At the end of November, the Idleb City Council issued a decision to remove all kiosks, but it did not implement it under the pretext of a desire it had to create an alternative market.
The Baladi News correspondent said that dozens of kiosks and shop owners in Idleb came out against the Salvation Government in response to its decision to take down kiosks from the streets and close to roundabouts, and to remove all goods, on Saturday.
The owners considered that the Salvation Government is cutting off their livelihood, while the government says that it is working to control and regulate the markets, taking into consideration the density of the population in the region.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.