Spokesman for the Syrian Coalition Anas al-Abdah said that “the Assad regime has taken effective measures to legitimize the seizure of Syrians’ property through the creation of a special directorate for the implementation of Decree 66, the announcement of new lists of specializations for property owners in the district of Kafarsousa, Al-Mazza, Darya and Al-Qadam, and putting its hand on the property of opponents.
Al-Abada told Al-Hayat newspaper that “the amendments the Assad regime has recently introduced to Decree 66 have fallen short of ensuring protection for the rights of the Syrians nor did they dispel the fears of the opposition.” He made it clear that the Assad regime was forced under international and popular pressure to make amendments to Law 10. However, these amendments were limited to extending the timeframe during which owners of property have to assert their rights from six months to one year. The amendments also allowed owners of property to check with the normal judiciary after the end of the work of the committees provided for by Law 10.”
Al-Abbda pointed out that these amendments provided yet further proof of the continued encroachment on the property of millions of Syrians who are persecuted, detained, and forcibly displaced from their cities, villages and homes.
“The one-year period that was contained in the amendment to Law 10 is not different from the previous one-month period as property owners will still not be able to assert their rights to ownership or to delegate others to do so because of the lack of a safe environment and an independent judiciary under the current circumstances.”
Al-Abdah went on to say that “our main concern is that under Decree 66, owners of property will become mere stakeholders in unofficial settlements, which risks alienating them from their land and discouraging them from returning to Syria. Meanwhile, Law 10 will allow the Assad regime to repopulate the seized homes and property with its supporters with the aim of serving its goals and that of the Iranians to change demographic landscape in Syria. The recent amendments are aimed at serving these goals instead of dispelling Syrians’ fears.”
Al-Abda said that these amendments are also a source of concern for owners of property who currently live in the regime-held areas and who are not on the Assad regime’s wanted list. “The estimated value of their property does not allow the majority of those people to acquire homes in the new zones to be established under Law 10. They will therefore be forced to sell their shares in these zones to foreigners.”
Al-Abdah added: “The most grave aspect of Law 10 and which was absent from the latest amendments is that it allows holding companies to buy property in the new zones in return for their contribution to the reconstruction of these zones. It is well known that these companies have sectarian and political ties with Iran.
He called for the ratcheting up of pressure on the Assad regime to force it to repeal the legislations it is issuing; invalidate their effects; and not to make changes to property deeds of Syrians before the creation of a safe environment for the return of refugees and the release of detainees.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)