The Bashar al-Assad regime has prevented tens of thousands of families from returning to their homes in the al-Tadamon district of the capital Damascus, after implementing the controversial Law No. 10, which Assad issued in April 2018.
Residents of the district, which is the southern gate to Damascus, were shocked after a report was issued by the Damascus provincial committee for reviewing and implementing Law No.10 in al-Tadamon. They considered the report to be “subjective and unfair” and called for it to be canceled.
Anger spread among the district’s residents after the Head of the Council, Faysal Sarour, revealed on, Sep. 25, 2018, that the provincial governor for Damascus, Bishr al-Saban, had certified the committee’s report which concluded that there were just 690 homes to which residents could return to in the al-Tadamon district, pending the full zoning of the al-Tadamon area in accordance with Law No. 10, which could take four to five years.
Homes that were not included in the report have not been deemed valid and residents will be unable to return. These residents will lose their homes.
On Wednesday, the committee began to implement the Damascus governorate's decision by sealing houses suitable for residence in preparation to hand them over to owners and active renters, after submitting the necessary documents, according to the pro-regime al-Watan newspaper on Monday.
Lawyer Osman al-Aismi, a resident of al-Tadamon who was forced to leave, wrote in a post on his Facebook page: “They do not see us as anything but cattle. They can rob of us our homes, our money, our security, our refuge and our strength. They have sold their consciences to a few greedy corrupt people. The committee’s report issued on Sep. 26, 2018, deprives more than 25,000 families, comprising more than 200,000 people, from their homes and throws them to the side of the road, to become a people without homes, without hope and without dignity.”
Aismi — a regime supporter — said that those affected by the decision included workers, farmers, and volunteers in the army and police.
Activist Raafat al-Zein wrote on the “al-Tadamon District Displaced” page that “there are 690 houses valid for residence and over 90 percent are to be removed. The number of house declared valid is tiny, when compared with the size of the area and the number of residents, and contrary to the documented images of the district, which prove this number is incorrect.”
The committee’s decision was met with widespread criticism on social media, with those affected by the decision in al-Tadamon saying that the committee formed to evaluate damage had not done its work and had not implemented the law actively and effectively and that there had been dereliction in its work and a lack of realism.
Residents said that the committee’s work was “far from trustworthy, as it had been free to expand its work and studies of the area and to include all streets and buildings in the al-Tadamon area, without any limitations.”
Residents of the district have documented hundreds of photos showing that most of the houses are fit for residence and that they only need minor renovation.
Residents of the district reached the decision to file a lawsuit against the committee and appeal the decision. The al-Watan newspaper said that it had seen the list which includes thousands of signatures of those objecting to the Damascus governorate’s decision.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.