A Wall Street Journal article brought to light the suffering Syrian civilians are enduring when they try to obtain identity documents and register marriages and births in the Assad regime-held areas. The newspaper highlighted the maze of red tape surrounding these procedures and the hardships facing Syrians trying to obtain official documents.
The article ‘A Last Indignity of War for Syrians: Assad’s Red Tape,’ journalist Raja Abdulrahim noted that one of the main tools that the Assad regime is using to humiliate Syrian citizens is the family book. She said that after recapturing many rebel-held areas with brutal military campaigns and reasserting control, the Assad regime is now re-establishing its authority through bureaucracy.
A Syrian citizen who is not registered in the family book practically does not exist and therefore will not be allowed to enter schools or hospitals or benefit from any essential services.
The article cites the story of Mariam, a Syrian mother of three who spent about a year trying to register the birth of her two little children, a feat for which she has to clear a cruel hurdle: She must prove their paternity to the same government that killed their father.
Moreover, the article highlights the suffering and hardships Mariam and other Syrian civilians who once lived in the liberated areas are facing when trying to obtain the official papers. It also sheds light on the suffering faced by Syrian citizens who succumbed to the so-called reconciliation agreements, pointing out that Syrians must endure the rebirth of the Assad state in all its forms.
The newspaper went on to say that a newly married couple must obtain a family book. As for couples who got married in the areas outside the control of the Assad regime, they are required to produce witnesses, lawyers and pay exorbitant fees.
Some Syrians chose not to register marriages or births for fear of being detained when they visit government departments, the article added.
The article notes that the case of Mariam represents the suffering thousands of Syrians are enduring. It said that many people in Damascus simply cannot understand the red tape they have to grapple with in order to become normal citizens. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Arabic 21)