The brand of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has become popular throughout the world. Even in the insurgent-held areas of Syria's northwest province of Idlib, one can find a restaurant in Idlib city bearing the KFC brand. On 31 January 2020, I conducted an interview with the director of this KFC restaurant in Idlib city regarding the restaurant and the situation in Idlib more generally. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When was the restaurant established? And what was the aim of establishing the restaurant? And is it only in Idlib city?
A: The restaurant was established as an idea in May 2019 and it began to be prepared and was opened at the beginning of October. The restaurant is based on [the support of] a number of sponsors who have borne the cost of the establishment on the condition that the restaurant's profits should be to build camps or mosques or schools in the border areas, in addition to caring for the families of modest means residing in the camps. The project was designed for Idlib as an idea and after the success by the grace of God, we are preparing for a second branch within Atmeh [locality with IDP camps and on border with Turkey] and in the future there is consideration for the establishment of a branch in Azaz [in north Aleppo countryside].
Q: Are all the brothers working in the restaurant from the sons of Idlib? Or for example are there muhajireen [foreign] brothers helping the restaurant as well?
A: Those working in the restaurant are of all of the youth of Syria: from Homs, al-Sham [Damascus], Qalamoun, Aleppo, Hama and Idlib. As for your question about the muhajireen brothers as a work staff, there are no muhajireen within it.
Q: How has the rise of the price of the dollar impacted the restaurant?
A: It has not impacted the restaurant praise be to God because the aim is working not for the sake of profit or increasing profit, so by nature the proportion of profit, even if small, is not a problem. The more important point has been that the restaurant should not be broken so we have relied on one of the accounting experts from the al-Muhtasib company and we raised our prices in the form of operating as per currency exchange differences and praise be to God we made it such that in the time of expensiveness we were the cheapest price on the market. And now the price has been stabilised if God wills such that the beneficiary should not be surprised by the presence of differences in the prices every two days or every week.
Part of the menu of KFC Idlib, featuring prices of items in Syrian pounds.
More of the menu of KFC Idlib.
Q: How is the services situation in Idlib generally? I mean for example electricity, water, cleaning and sewage?
A: This matter is not hidden to anyone. Regrettably the situation is not as desired or as it must be. The price of electricity and water are connected with the price of fuels because it is the first operating means and with it is connected the rise of all commodities.
Q: Currently for how many hours are the generators operated? And how many times does the water come each week?
A: For households [the electricity comes for] two hours, and for businesses four hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The water: once a week and sometimes the week goes and it does not come.
Q: So you must buy water from tankers?
A: Of course.
Q: Finally do you fear the advance of the regime towards Idlib city?
A: As humans, of course. Man fears for his children and family and property. But praise be to God within the course of the blessed revolution we no longer fear this matter because in the end, whether brought forward or postponed, the matter belongs to the will of God Almighty and Exalted is He. And we are not in a better state than our brothers who were displaced from their towns and villages.