The “Free Layers Association” has launched a center for legal clinics in the city of Azaz in Northern Aleppo, on April 2, seeking to spread “legal literacy” and offer services and consultancies to the area’s people and refugees.
Saeed Akash, the Director of the Legal Clinics Center in Azaz, told Enab Baladi that the center will offer consultancies to all citizens for free, especially the poor and the displaced, aiming to raise their awareness about their rights and the means to preserve them by guiding them to undertake legal approaches in their daily interactions.
The center will organize legal workshops, seminars and lectures; it will also offer training opportunities for human rights activists, as to establish the principles of human rights’ preservation, to raise awareness to limit the proliferation of crimes, to face the arbitrary decisions of the d facto authority, in addition to conducting solidarity and mobilization campaigns concerning sensitive social causes, according to Akash.
Samer al-Basha, a man from the city of Azaz, told Enab Baladi that the center’s presence is “necessary,” after the Sharia courts have been abolished in the Euphrates Shield area and the reactivation of the legal courts in there.
He added that what matters for him is to get a legal consultancy from specialists. “It is important that I get introduced to my rights and duties and to utilize having a free of charge attorney beside me if I needed, as citizen from a poor class.”
According to the citizen Mohammad al-Ali, the center provides services to people backed by the arbitration office affiliated with the Lawyers Association, telling Enab Baladi that “it provides fundamental services in the time being, amidst the chaotic situation witnessed by the area.”
“The people must apply the law to participate in achieving justice,” he pointed out.
Northern Aleppo includes a number of major cities and towns, all of which are under the control of the “Free Army”. On top of these areas are the following: Jarabulus, Azaz, Mare’, the towns and villages of al-Rai, Dabiq and Suran.
After controlling the area, in early 2017, various courts have been established as to resolve the disputes among people and factions; they were ordered to stick to applying the “rulings” on the confronting sides. The last of these was the Court of Suran.
The situation remained thus, until 19 judges, in Northern Aleppo, issued a statement, towards the end of 2017, saying that “the judges under the Euphrates Shield have agreed to adopt the application of the Syrian laws (Property Laws, the Civil Law and Penal Codes), in a manner that does not violate the rulings of the Syrian Constitution for the year of 1950.”
The statement was met with the objection of a number of entities, civil and military forces in the Northern countryside of Aleppo, which considered it a gesture to get closer to the Syrian regime and the laws it adopts at its courts.
Legal clinics are spread in Idlib, Daraa, Homs and recently in rural Aleppo, offering free legal support to citizens and displaced people in the governorates since they have been established in 2016.