SOLD OUT: Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi recently presided over the opening of a new mall in Alawite-majority Tartus province, which cost the state 10 billion Syrian Lira [$62 million] in a move that has angered some pro-regime supporters, reported pro-opposition news agency All4Syria.
The mall, measuring a total of 32,000 square feet, consists of five floors and is home to various restaurants, shopping outlets, and luxury stores, including RICCI, Sephora, and Explore Apparel, according to the mall’s official Facebook page.
Scores of pro-regime Syrians took to Facebook to criticize the mall’s opening and demand that the state direct its money and attention to more important matters. Below is a sampling from nearly three dozen Facebook comments:
Amad Madi: “What’s with you uncle (referring to the regime), where did this 10 billion come from? Where? The world is dying of hunger, the world is kidnapped and no one is paying ransom demanded by the militants,” referring to hundreds of captured Syrian soldiers in rebel hands, particularly among extremist Islamist groups.
Kenan Zammam: “A bunch of pimps and thieves,” referring to the officials presiding over the mall’s opening ceremony.
Ghaith Wannous: “Who wants to buy from this mall while the children of Tartus are dying of hunger?”
Osama Khozam: “Congratulations to the poor of Tartus for this mall. Enjoy it in good health.”
Ali Soliman: “Alright, but I want to ask your excellency [Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi] did you do anything about the missing soldiers in A-Raqqa, in a-Tabqa airport…this is disgusting,” referring to the missing soldiers captured by the Islamic State at Tabqa military airport in August, many of whom were executed en mass shortly after.
The missing soldiers of Tabqa airport have become an unlikely source of opposition among Assad’s supporters.
In August, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi also presided over the opening of the “Uptown” luxury resort and shopping center in the upscale Dumar neighborhood in Damascus, which cost the state $40 million, reported pro-opposition news website AlSouria.net.