What a plight it is to return to one’s homeland, only to find out that it is no longer the land they once owned, or it might not even perhaps offer them the protection against being killed they had as refugees in a foreign land. The Assad regime’s law no 10 would do the same to the hordes of Syrians wishing to return to their war-torn land by stripping them of whatever is left of their homes in requiring them to submit the documentation proving its ownership or otherwise lose its possession to the state. The state then intends to embark on with reconstruction, reorganization and reallocation of land.
Parallels can be drawn between Assad’s law no 10 and Israel’s absentee law that confiscated the properties of Palestinians who fled the land following the 1948 Naqba. However, it is important to understand the absentee law let the Israelis take away the land and properties of Palestinians, a different religion and nationality from theirs with whom they remain embroiled in a conflict over the land. In Syria, it is Assad and his own people, masses governed for decades by his family.
Perhaps Syria will no longer be a home to Syrians but to those who have supported Assad. Moreover, the war is far from over. The regime still awaits the US and its allies to leave completely as stated by the Syrian president himself. With the arrangement under the said law, those who fled the country for their opposition to the Syria authorities might not ever be able to return.
In retrospect and in the implementation of the law no 10, a state populated by the majority sect will now be repopulated as well as ruled by the minority sect. By extension, this will strengthen the hand of Iran and its allies in regional politics.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2018.
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