The next time you have a discussion with an ignorant human being about why the refugees flee in such numbers from their country send them a link to this video below, the city of Homs in Syria. Homs with an estimated population of 830.000 in 2008 a city that housed 4 universities, some industrial projects and had a rich culture.
From Wikipedia you can read quite a bit about Homs. About the cuisine for instance:
“Although people in Homs eat the same foods common in Levantine cuisine, the city is well known throughout Syria for its own cuisine. A prominent dish is Batarsh, a type of baba ghanouj made with yogurt and garlic instead of tahini. Homs is also home to a variety of kibbeh mishwiyyeh or “grilled kibbeh”. It consists of two pancakes of kibbeh stuffed with ground lamb, cooked with lamb fat and various spices. Batata mahshi (“stuffed potatoes”) is native dish in Homs and is made of baby potatoes stuffed with minced lamb, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. The city specializes in cooking a type of okra meal, known as bamya bi-l zayt (“okra with olive oil”).
Homs has an array of restaurants, some of the most highly acclaimed are those within the Safir Hotel: Mamma Mia and Mersia. The former specializes in Italian cuisine, while the latter serves Arabic food. For the local population, popular restaurants include Prince Restaurant which acts as a type of fast-food place, serving shawarma, grilled chicken, and other common Syrian foods, as well as homemade juices. In the Old City, low-price restaurants are grouped together along Shoukri al-Quwatly Street and sell similar foods, such as hummus, falafel, various salads (mezze), kebabs and chicken dishes. Restaurants and coffee houses typically offer hookahs and are a common place for men to gather and smoke.
|Old clock square|
Other notable restaurants include Broasted Kreish, a local favorite for shish taouk and shawarma on the Korniche St just south of the Ghouta; the Rawda, a garden lounge located by the New Clock Tower which is known by locals for its Homsi-style fatteh and for the atmosphere created by its divided men and family areas, providing an area for men to gather to play cards, smoke and watch soccer games and for families to have a drink and dessert on late downtime.
Homs also recently emerged as the restaurant scene in pre-civil-war Syria after completing its Malab St. Hamra development. The Hamra Street in the Malab area was home to a strip of highly rated restaurants including La Luna, a shisha lounge; Chez Moi, serving a few French dishes along with the typical local food; Mia Casa, an Italian restaurant; Troy, an American-Latin-Syrian mashup; and Quattro, another Italian restaurant.
Take a look at Homs now, filmed by a drone: