UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties has announced that it has begun work on a $1 billion mixed-use project in Syria despite the volatile situation in the country. The Khams Shamat project - a 1.5 million square metre development, will be developed through multiple phases in the Yaafour district, 17 kilometres west of Syrian capital Damascus. The first phase of this project will be completed in 2014. It would involve building international hotels, apartments, shops, homes and offices. In addition, it will comprise educational, cultural and entertainment facilities surrounded by large open spaces and vast greenery and landscapes. The first stage of laying down infrastructure and foundations for Phase 1 commenced on July 27, 2011.