French retail giant Carrefour is expanding its presence in the Middle East with its first store in Syria.

The store, part of a US$1.7bn hotel, residential and commercial complex outside of Damascus, the Syrian capital, is to be built by the Majid Al Futtaim Group, the developer has revealed.

Located in the residential part of Damascus known as 'New Damascus', Dubai-based Majid Al-Futtaim Group is investing in the building of Syria's "largest ever" mixed use development, which will be "anchored by a Carrefour Hypermarket".

The project site is in the Sabboura Yafour district on the Beirut to Damascus Highway, a location identified as a "key growth corridor" by the Syrian government.

The group has already entered into discussions with leading international retailers to be a part of the first stage, which is due to complete in 2012.

Anders Moberg, Majid Al Futtaim Group's CEO, said: "Our commitment to Syria is significant and we plan to offer the people of Damascus the same fantastic choice in shopping and entertainment as everywhere else in the region."

Carrefour was not available for comment when contacted by just-food today (14 October).