Until last year, the Syrian retail sector lacked big malls and associated hypermarket chains because the importation of foreign consumer goods and electronic items was banned. However, the Syrian government has gradually liberalized import restrictions and many foreign goods have been removed from the list of banned items, leading a number of Gulf retail groups to consider entering the country.
The discovery of natural gas deposits beneath the Eastern Mediterranean has shifted the outlook for Israel's energy market. It is thought that the reserves hold enough gas to feed Israel's consumption for decades, and may even turn the energy-dependent country into an exporter. However, the discovery has served to exacerbate political tensions, and further development faces major challenges.
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