Albaraka’s Syria Unit to Go Ahead With Expansion Amid Protests

Albaraka Banking Group (BARKA)’s unit in Syria plans to open five branches this year even as a popular uprising in the Arab nation enters its 12th week.

Al Baraka Bank Syria will open a branch in the northern city of Aleppo this week, the unit’s Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Halabi said in an interview May 30. "We are continuing with our plans because we have confidence in the Syrian economy and because we believe that the current unrest is only a temporary situation," he said.

The Syrian government is seeking to end unrest in some parts of the country after protest broke out in the southern city of Daraa in mid March as people demand greater freedom.

The Shariah-compliant bank, which started operations in 2010, has four branches in Syria, according to the company’s website. Al Baraka plans to capture as much as 30 percent of the Islamic finance market by 2013, Halabi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lina Ibrahim in Dubai

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