2.5m Syrians hosted by KSA since uprising

Updated 12 September 2015
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2.5m Syrians hosted by KSA since uprising

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has hosted around 2.5 million Syrians since the beginning of the crisis in that country in 2011, the Foreign Ministry has said.
In a statement issued to SPA, the ministry said the Syrians have been leading a decent and normal life in the Kingdom like other expatriates. “The Kingdom does not deal with Syrian expats like refugees. They are living in a normal environment not in special camps.”
According to the ministry, the Syrians have been granted legal residence permits and full freedom to travel inside the country.
“Moreover, they are allowed to study in Saudi schools as per the royal order issued in 2012.
A total of 100,000 Syrians are registered in public schools,” the ministry clarified, reacting to wrong reports about the Kingdom’s role in tackling the Syrian refugees crisis. “All Syrians in the Kingdom receive free medical treatment. They are allowed to work in the private sector like other expatriates,” the ministry added.
Saudi Arabia has spent $700 million to help Syrian refugees, according to figures made available during the Third Intentional Conference of Donors in Kuwait in March this year, the ministry said.
The Kingdom played a vital role in helping Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through humanitarian aid including food, medical treatment, medicines and clothes,” the ministry added.
An online publication quoted a source as saying that the Labor Ministry has excluded Syrians from labor inspections being carried out to correct expat status. “This will be a great help to my fellow Syrian visitors,” said a Riyadh-based Syrian expat. “We have lived here for many years and benefited not only financially from this country but also from free education for our children,” he observed.
The visitors residing with their families here feel that the gesture would help them put their skills to good use and benefit from their stay, he said, adding that it will be a win-win situation for them and the host country.
The directive by King Salman aims at letting the departments that face skills’ shortage to benefit from Syrian visitors, many of whom are experienced and highly qualified to make a qualitative change to the local market.
Western countries have realized the advantage of absorbing refugees with a wealth of talent and skills, which is a cost effective solution for them amid the global economic slump.
Similarly, these Arab refugees could be a blessing in disguise for the Kingdom in the face of declining oil prices. Their professional skills, along with knowledge of Arabic, will give them an edge over non-Arabic speaking expats.
This year, the king also ordered rectification of the residential status of Yemeni illegals to let them work in various sectors.


King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 14 December 2018
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King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.