Not without challenges

Syrians forge new lives in Maysan amid challenges

MAYSAN, Iraq – In the diverse landscape of Iraq, the Syrian community is finding a new beginning in Maysan, away from their conflict-ridden homeland. While many Syrians have settled in larger cities such as Baghdad, Basra, and Erbil, a notable number are venturing into Maysan, seeking peace and stability. 964media recently spoke with two Syrian individuals who recounted their journey and the realities of their new life in Iraq.

Mustafa Salem, a street vendor from Rif Dimashq, arrived in Iraq two and a half months ago. The transition was not easy, involving a $2,500 work visa fee and the challenge of finding profitable work amidst local restrictions. “The work here isn’t as profitable as it used to be,” Salem remarked, highlighting the limitations placed on vendors in amusement parks and public gardens. Despite these economic hardships, the welcoming nature of the Iraqi people has been a silver lining for him.

Haitham Al-Halabi has been navigating Iraq since the Syrian crisis began. After moving through Erbil, Baghdad, and Basra, Al-Halabi settled in Maysan seven months ago. He spoke of the changing market dynamics and the increase in goods prices, which affect his business of selling premium Syrian nuts. “The Iraqis surround us with love; they are generous and hospitable, making us feel at home,” said Al-Halabi, appreciating the support from the local community.

The presence of Syrian vendors in Maysan is, however, not without legal complications. Zaid Al-Bahadli, Director of the Federal Employment Department in Maysan, pointed out the legal grey area many of these vendors find themselves in. “A number of these vendors entered Iraq illegally and are not registered with our department,” Al-Bahadli explained, indicating the difficulty in providing support or accurate statistics for their numbers. He noted that foreign labor is typically authorized only for the health, oil, and contracted investment sectors, leaving many street vendors in a precarious position.

Spice trade flourishes in Qa'im, influenced by Syrian imports

Spice trade flourishes in Qa'im, influenced by Syrian imports