After four years of unresolved retaliation, the industrialists of the Qaboun area are watching the fate of their property and factories threatened with demolition again. Having spent millions to restore their factories that survived the destruction of the war, they are now trapped in “urban planning”. This urbanization will transform all of Qaboun industrial areas into a residential area only.
Maher Talja, director of the Damascus industry, said that the evacuation of Qaboun’s industrialists is a major loss for the Syrian industry. It is impossible to say that Damascus is not an industrial city, due to the existence of labor-dependent industries such as shoes, bags, and textiles manufacturing which do not need large real estate properties.
In an interview with local radio station Melody, Talja said “We defended Qaboun’s industrialists and many submissions have been sent to the Minister of Industry. In turn, the minister wrote to the Ministry of Local Administration two months ago. The Ministry of Local Administration then wrote to the Damascus governorate to study the issue and find a solution for the possible return of industrialists. The answer was ‘that here is a plan and a decision approved by the Executive Office and there is no room for a reversal of the decision.”
He added that all the facilities in the Qaboun region have no environmental impact, and 99 percent of its textile products are environmentally friendly industries. He then pointed out that small and medium-sized industries are very difficult to move to Adra Industrial City because they do not bear any economic feasibility.
Fawaz ibn al-Mukhtar al-Akkad, chairman of the Qaboun Industrialists Committee, said that the proposed destination to replace Qaboun is the industrial city of Adra. However, it is not serviced and the nature of its land is a desert. The area is not equipped and ready for establishing any facilities.
According to the radio station, 95 percent of the 750 industrialists in the Qaboun are unable to transfer. Consequently, they are threatened with exiting their field of work and their facilities will be shut down.
The head of the committee suggested giving a 10-year deadline for the transfer of existing facilities in Qaboun, which only require minor repairs to proceed with their work. He added that one of the proposed solutions is to secure built-up areas which are serviced and ready so that factories can directly move there. This way, the urban planning can proceed and the shares will be transferred, provided that the value of these shares is in accordance with their market value: according to the law used by the Ministry of Finance for the sale and purchase of properties. This way, the owner of the property would receive fair compensation.
Akkad also stressed the need to focus on more important things than demolishing an area and leaving it for a while, especially since the area is industrial. A deadline should be given for these facilities, at the very least, to continue their work until the economic conditions improve.
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.