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Punishing Syrian refugees and displaced persons

May 23,2018 - Last updated at May 23,2018

The Syrian regime has added yet another draconian weapon to its already long list of arsenals against the opposition by recently issuing a decree aiming to confiscate movable and immovable properties belonging to people regarded as members of the opposition. 

Damascus calls all the opposition groups as terrorists and therefore “enemies” of the state.  The new law assumes a benign form by requesting all the Syrian people who have abandoned their properties for whatever reason to reestablish their ownership within a certain limited time or risk losing the title to them. It so happens that most if not all the internally displaced Syrians and those left the war scenes in their country to neighbouring countries are now viewed by Damascus as potentially members of the opposition and therefore “enemies” of the state. 

The Syrian people who are characterised as the “enemies” of the state do not dare appear before the official Syrian authorities to claim ownership of their properties for fear of being arrested and punished.  What Damascus is now purporting to do   in order to silence the opposition or instill fears in them is to force them to “surrender” to the state agencies to prove ownership of their properties or else face having them confiscation. 

This is similar to  what Israel has done to the Palestinian people who also fled their country in the face of the advancing  Israeli military and as a result have seen their properties taken over by the Israeli “absentee owners’ authorities”, which for all intents and purpose meant their confiscation by Israel. 

Not a single Palestinian person who lost possession of her or his property in Israel was able till now to reclaim possession of it. Not even Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin, who were  once treated as absentee owners before the  Wadi Araba Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan was signed in 1994, have been able to this day to reclaim ownership of their homes and lands that had been  left behind in Israel despite the fact that Jordanians and Israelis are no longer treated as enemies under the peace treaty. 

Syria is therefore following the footsteps of Israel by accumulating wealth at the expense of the millions of refugees and displaced persons that it has created in the first place.

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