Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently visited a partially dilapidated building in the al-Malikiyah neighbourhood of Damascus. Some suspected that unlicensed expansion by an influential individual had contributed to the deterioration of the structure.
Confidential sources revealed that President Bashar al-Assad instructed one of the officers accompanying him to closely monitor the investigations conducted by the Damascus governorate. The officer subsequently contacted the Minister of Local Administration to assign him the responsibility of overseeing the case on direct orders from President Assad, delivered in a stern manner.
President Assad emphasized the need for accountability regarding those involved in the incident, regardless of their positions or affiliations. He also emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of introducing engineering and construction equipment into the neighbourhood, emphasizing that such entry should require security approvals.
An insider in Damascus governorate disclosed that the provincial council had submitted a request to Branch 40 of the State Security Agency, which is responsible for the security of the area. This request sought permission to allow the entry of engineering construction vehicles, including a bulldozer, into the security-classified Malikiyah neighbourhood. The request cited the necessity of clearing space for the purpose of cleaning a nearby river.
According to the source, the businessman with close ties to the Syrian regime, Wassim Qattan, acquired the ground floor of the building. He commenced construction of a basement through drilling and excavation in September but departed for Lebanon in late September for undisclosed reasons.
Qattan’s purchase consisted of the ground floor, covering an area of 200 square meters within the total building space of 900 square meters, as well as an adjacent garden spanning approximately 300 square meters.
Damascus Governorate Conceals Identity of Officials
The Damascus Governorate initially withheld the identities of those accountable for the collapse of the balconies in a residential building within the Malikiyah neighbourhood. It was only after the demolition of the building that the authorities announced that “all offenders” had been referred to the judiciary.
Furthermore, the governor mandated that those found responsible for the balcony collapse must undertake the reconstruction of the balconies. This reconstruction is to be carried out in compliance with a prepared engineering study and under the supervision of qualified engineers.
However, the statement from the Damascus governorate omitted any mention of the individuals or parties responsible for the initial collapse of the building’s balconies. This is despite the formation of a special committee to investigate the incident and determine the culprits behind the balcony’s collapse.
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.