Sons keep traditional trends of fathers’ shops in NE Syria’s Derik

DERIK, Syria (North Press) – Muhammad Ahmad, 70, is busy revising his bills in his small shop in Ain Diwar market (souk) in Derik (al-Malikiyah) city, northeast Syria.

Ahmad was 25 when he first started helping his illiterate father in his little shop after he was discharged for the mandatory service of the Syrian army. 

He recalled that the shop’s rent used to be 400 SYP a month but increased year by year until it became 150,000 SYP per month this year.

Ain Diwar market is the most ancient markets located in Derik city in the fat northeast Syria and was named after the highway that links Derik to Ain Diwar town.

Shops in this souk used to sell foodstuffs, clothes and shoes. Now they sell agricultural tools, antiques, taps and electricity fixing kits.

55 years ago, ten shops of this souk used to be part of a huge residential house owned by al-Mofti family.

Only five of them left opened as few of shopkeepers died and other shops closed for different reasons.

The shopkeeper’s memories  

Ahmad recalled the times when he first started working here. His father and another partner had rented the shop.

At the time, the shop contained only little items but Ahmad worked hard to increase them and improve the work year by year.

He remembers when used to have tea with other shopkeepers in the souk, chatting and listening to tales narrated by another shopkeeper called Abu Shahin.

Sighing, he said that many days have passed and everything has changed. Most of his friends passed away and now his sons are completing his path.

“Fresh sellers are different form my old colleagues,” he recounted.  

Ahmad seems to be not very satisfied with the new sellers.

He then started to tell the name of his old friends whom died years ago and others get too old to work, “I am the only one who is still working up to now,” he said.

He added that some customers call this market ‘the Jewish market’ as they are not content with the prices that hike.  

In the past days, Ahmad sold food stuff, clothes and home utensils but now he sells other stuff like hosepipes, cars’ wheels and nylon.    

Occupation inherited  

The first shop in Ain Diwar market belongs to Ibrahim Youssef, 80, who visits his shop every morning and stays there for few hours despite he is old. 

Ahmad, 38, inherited his fathers’ occupation and said they first used to sell foodstuff specially sugar through ration coupons distributed to the citizens by the Syrian state. Currently they sell nylons, plumbing equipment among others.  

Although Ahmad introduced new stuff to sell in his shop such as haunting stuff, they still maintain the old architecture.  

“This market kept its old traditional architecture and we want to maintain it,” Youssef said.

Ahmad inherited this occupation from his father 20 years ago and he would like to teach his own sons the same profession.  

Bangin Muhammad, 66, is a customer who has been shopping in Ain Diwar market since he was twelve.

Standing in front of a shop, Muhammad said “I remember I was in the sixth grade when I first came here and I still come.”

Reporting by Solnar Muhammad