How Regime Uses Laws to Take Over Homes, Land and Real Estate in Homs

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has confirmed the Assad regime's pursuit of a deliberate policy of destruction, aimed at unlawfully acquiring homes.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights has confirmed the Assad regime’s pursuit of a deliberate policy of destruction, aimed at unlawfully acquiring homes, land, and real estate through an illicit legal framework. This revelation comes from a report titled “The Mechanisms of the Syrian Regime’s Manipulation of Legislation to Control Properties in Homs governorate,” issued by the Network.

The report exposes the regime’s expansion of real estate seizures from 2018 onward, exploiting laws and decrees implemented illegally since 2011. Capitalizing on the internal armed conflict and its authoritative control over legislative and executive bodies, the regime has continuously refined these laws, impacting all Syrians but primarily targeting three groups.

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The targeted groups, as outlined in the report, are forcibly displaced persons (refugees and displaced individuals) numbering around 12 million, disappeared individuals totalling nearly 112,713,000, and deceased civilians and military personnel, amounting to approximately half a million—many unregistered in civil registry departments. The majority of these groups are perceived as opponents of the Syrian regime and victims of its violations since March 2011.

The report underscores the connection between rights violations and the confiscation of homes, land, and property. Severe violations often coerce residents to flee, rendering their property susceptible to acquisition under the Syrian regime’s provisions. Highlighting prominent violations leading to forced displacement, the report cites the killing of at least 30,571 civilians in Homs between March 2011 and August 2023, along with documented sectarian massacres, numbering no fewer than 20, mostly occurring in the early years of the popular movement.

The report delves into two case studies in Homs governorate—the Bab Amr neighbourhood and the city of al-Qusayr. It meticulously examines prominent violations, tracks real estate seizures, assesses destruction levels, and provides satellite imagery comparisons to illustrate the magnitude of looting and property seizures. This comprehensive analysis aims to offer readers a vivid understanding of the extent of destruction inflicted on various cities, villages, and neighbourhoods throughout Homs governorate.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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