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Jihad Abaza
جهاد أباظة
Jihad Abaza is a freelance journalist based in Cairo. She reports on politics. She received a BA in Political Science and an MA in Anthropology-Sociology from the American University in Cairo.

Egypt's Little Syria

Cairo's Little Syria
Kids play football outside the Syrian school in 6th of October City.
Egypt's Little Syria
Taking a stroll through Giza's  "Syrian neighborhood" with 15-year-old Leena from Damascus.
28/12/2016 | Giza

Starting in 2011, Syrians flocked to Egypt in large numbers. Many were already part of the middle and upper middle classes in Syria, and had moderate savings in tow. They came to Egypt with business plans. As Cairo's suburban 6th of October City grew, Syrian shops and restaurants became a fundamental part of the city’s urban make up.

Given that 2013 was tough on many Syrians due to the government’s crackdown on refugees, hundreds chose to leave the country. This exodus came in the context of toughening residency procedures and governmental decisions to not allow Syrians into Egypt without a visa;  which, became almost impossible to obtain.

Nonetheless, some Syrians still prefer Egypt over other countries. Leena’s family, who lives in 6th of October City’s "Syrian neighborhood" is one example. Her father owns a sweet shop in the Syrian street, and a café nearby. Her mother says she is comfortable living close to the heart of the city, and has made many friends. She does add however, that her family is there "officially" and their paperwork is in order.

Not everyone is so lucky. "The young men downstairs without residency permits really suffer," she says. "As soon they hear that police may be passing by, they have to leave everything and run."

Image: Jihad Abaza