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The second honey festival in Damascus

With the participation of 34 beekeepers from the public and private sectors, the activities of the second Syrian Honey Festival were launched on the grounds of Al-Jalaa Sports City in Damascus. The activities of the festival will continue until the twenty-second of this month,

The festival is held by the Arab Beekeepers Union (Syria Municipality) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform under the title “Honey ... Food, Medicine and Cure”. It includes the products of the Syrian beekeepers that are quality-assured in addition to production requirements, wooden beehives, medical and food industries from the materials produced by bees.

Ahmad Qaso, who participated in the exhibition, told Syria Times e – news paper that his second participation in this event is to acquaint people with honey and its benefits in our country.

The bid to Turkify Northern Syria

On August 2016, the Turkish occupation forces and their affiliate of Syrian armed groups launched the so-called ‘Euphrates Shields Operation’ and occupied towns and villages in north and northeast of Aleppo.

After the Turkish military occupation, Turkey applied its plans and agendas to Turkify the occupied Syrian towns and villages.

Syrian journalist Khrshed Delli said that “ Sulmyan Soylu,  the Turkish Interior Minister and Deputy of the Justice and Development Party believes in the now obsolete Ahd i-Milli ( the National Pact) which considers the people of north Syria and Iraq as Turkish citizens.”

“The Turkish government gave about 94000 Syrians the Turkish citizenship. This is the official number but I think the real number is more,” Delli said during an interview with Syria Times.

“The Turkish regime is practicing systematical Turkification plans in the Syrian occupied lands in all walks of life, including education, mosques, police stations, charities and everything,” Delli said.

Turkification of Education: 

Turkey established branches of its universities and schools in the so-called “Euphrates Shields” towns of A’zaz , Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Al-Bab and others.

Syrian students are being forced to study in Turkish in addition to Arabic. Turkey markets this issue as a must if students want to move to Turkey in the future.

Turkey runs the schools and universities and gives the teachers and administrative staff their salaries in Turkish liras via the Turkish Post Office (PTT) which opened offices in all big towns of the so-called “Euphrates Shields” such Azaz and Al-Bab.

According to local sources, the Turkish Ministry of Education runs about 700 schools that teach about 200.000 students in the so-called ‘Euphrates Shield Region’.

“The Turkish regime enforced its educational curriculum and language in all schools. Our children are forced to learn from these Turkish curricula which have different information and culture from the Syrian curriculum,” Abu Mohammad, 40-year-old father of two sons lives in Azaz town.

“I prefer to not send my children to the Turkey-run schools and learn from Turkish books. It is a national stance. There are many students who go to the schools and today they speak Turkish language and learn the history of Turkey not the history of Syria,” Abu Mohammad said to Syria Times.

Turkification of currency:

The Turkish government gives the Syrian militants, policemen, teachers, Sheikhs, scholars of mosques, doctors , nurse, employees and workers in municipalities monthly salaries in Turkish lira so, making the Turkish lira a de-facto issue, instead of the Syrian national currency.

It has become normal to pay with the Turkish lira for anything, monthly rent, buying a truck or a car, buying foodstuff- everything. Turkey encourages Syrian traders and sellers to deal with the Turkish lira.  

On June 25, 2020, Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Dr. Samer Khalil stated that “the Turkish occupation is taking serious measures to Turkify the economy sector in northern Syria and enforce the Turkish lira on the trade deals and this hurts the Syrian national currency.”

Minister Khalil said that “the Turkish occupation  fabricates videos and propaganda on the deterioration of the Syrian economy at the same time with the American Caesar Act.”

“Turkey works to merge the occupied Syrian region’s economy and trade with its national economy. Turkey links roads and routes between Turkey and all occupied cities and towns. Turkey is building a big industrial zone in Al-Bab town to hire the low-salary Syrian professional workers and employees to work in its run factories,” Delli said.

“The Turkey-run local Syrian authorities prevented dealing with the Syrian pounds, specially the 2000SP note, in the Turkish occupied cities and towns in north Syria,” Delli


“Piano ain’t got no wrong notes”

He was applauded a year ago in Damascus Opera House in more than a concert with a thousand marvelous notes ... We find him today with renewed pleasure, even more exquisite in his playing and reserving for his listeners a top program of range, dominated by a choice of absolute romanticism.

It’s hard to put the joy of making music on the piano into words, but this difficulty hasn’t stopped many great minds from trying! To celebrate the beauty of this grand instrument, Al Hamra Theater has hosted a live concert by Dr. Gazwan Zerkli, an internationally recognized Syrian pianist and composer.

For his journey in Al Hamra Theater, he has concocted a compact program which offers music lovers the music of Chopin, Beethoven, and Mozart. But what a music! Surges and murmurs of one of the most brilliant princes of the keyboard. Gazwan Zerkli, exceptional performance, made us believe that using the piano as a single instrument, is really capable of expressing every possible musical idea, despite the fact that piano keys are only black and white but they sound like a million colors in mind.

Gazwan Zerikly, a student at the Damascus Conservatory, studied at the Berlin Academy of Music and followed with distinction the masterclasses of D. Zechlin. Subsequently he attended the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow to complete his training under the direction of G. Axelrod. Winner of international awards (Portugal, Spain, Russia) Zerikly currently gives numerous concerts which have taken him to Europe as well as to the United States, Asia and Africa.

Dr. Zerkli has been working as Solo-Pianist and composer for the Syrian Radio and Television since 1977; and has composed numerous melodies and music for TV, film and others, as well as contributing to the western-style art song in Arabic. He has performed Liszt for the opening ceremony of the new Damascus Opera.

“Wood and Light Dialogue” a sculpture exhibition in Damascus

The Arab Cultural center in Abou Rummaneh is currently hosting a sculpture exhibition entitled “Wood and Light Dialogue” for artist Shafiq Al Ghabra .

This exhibition showcases 60 artworks that mix wood with light in different shapes and sizes using different types of trunks and branches taken from olive, lemon, walnut, raspberry, pine and cedar trees.

Al Ghabra, who is also an engineer, told Syria Times e- newspaper: “It it my third sculpture exhibition in which I try to display new abstract works that depict the harmony between light and wood”.

“The works reflect my ideas. When light is mixed with wood, it showed the beauty of the wood piece” he added.

“Some of sculptures in the exhibition vary in shape. Some of them are inspired by nature and others belong to the abstract school and abstract nature” he said.

About merging light with sculpture, artist Shafiq saidthat he seeks to create a kind of harmony and dialogue between light and wood, stressing that there is something new in this exhibition in terms of the light that enters into the wood artworks.

Syria: The Long Journey of the history of spices

Early on, spices were used as a source of trading and during the ancient Roman Empire, trading largely came from Arabian Al-Jazeera region.

The history of spices is almost as old as human civilization. Spices were among the most valuable items of trade in ancient and medieval times.During the middle Ages, spices were as valuable in Europe as gold and gems and the single most important force driving the world’s economy.

Prophet Mohammed (570-632), who established the principles of Islam in the Koran, also co-owned a shop that stocked myrrh, frankincense, and Asian spices. For four centuries following the death of Prophet Mohammed, his followers created a flourishing civilization and Moslems were outstanding scientists for their time. They advanced the process of extracting flower scents from blossoms and herbs and created distillation techniques to distill essential oils from aromatic plants. Later (around the 9th century), Arab physicians used spices and herbs to formulate syrups and flavoring extracts.

The Middle Eastern cuisine is one of the world’s most venerable, combining sweet and savory spices with warm, toasted nuts and dried fruits to create some of the world’s greatest exotic dishes.

Spices can greatly enhance the flavor of all your dishes, and the Syrian kitchen never fails to find the right seasoning.

Adding cinnamon to more than just rice pudding and other sweet dishes is somehow unexpected to the Western palate. However, we, Syrians love to spice up hearty meat mains and vegetable fillings with it.

‘Baharat’ simply means ‘spices’ in Arabic language. This all-purpose blend seasoning is most often found in Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek cuisine, and varies slightly from region to region. Before you even have a taste, those freshly mixed spices will be filling your kitchen with a unique and exotic aroma.

The spices of the Middle East region overlap slightly with ones used in South Asian/Indian and even Latin American cuisines (cumin and coriander, for example), but most are uniquely splendid in their flavor profile. So before the next time you find yourself eating a kebab dish with friends, you may want to learn more about the wonderful spices that enhance these foods.