Rural Aleppo’s Local Councils Tune the Car Market
In northern rural Aleppo, controlled by the Syrian opposition, the local councils are working on regulating the car market through starting driving courses and offering the drivers legal documents and licenses.
These organizational steps began with the al-Bab City Local Council’s launch of a project, under which cars are licensed and supplemented with number plates, seeking to set the traffic in order, control accidents and put a limit to vehicle thefts.
On March 13, 2019, the Directorate of Education in the city of al-Bab started a project for licensing vehicles, followed by the local council in the city of Azaz, which initiated a similar project to tune the car market and teach driving in recognized schools.
On March 30, Mahmoud al-Bari, the director of the Transportation Department told Enab Baladi the following: “We started working on establishing a driving school in the city of Azaz, following the model in the city of Idlib, so that the city engineers to start setting up a plan for the school.”
The project in the city of al-Bab is giving the citizens the opportunity to learn driving and obtain a driver’s license from the Directorate of Transportation, in parallel with the local council’s efforts at imposing order on the car market.
The driving courses’ fees have been defined as follows: 10 thousand Syrian pounds for motorcycles, 20 thousand Syrian pounds for smaller vehicles and privately-owned cars and 30 thousand Syrian pounds for trucks and heavy vehicles.
The area used to suffer the lack of or random censorship in the transportation sector and the car market.
These projects were preceded by others on the part of the local councils in rural Aleppo, through which they aimed at providing cars with number plates and registering them officially.
In a former interview with Enab Baladi, Jamal Osman, the director of the al-Bab local council, said that the project of providing cars with number plates is driven by the urge to preserve the people’s possessions, taking into consideration the necessity of the step and its importance for the settlement of the area and giving the city its life back.
“Abu Hassan”, the director of the Department of Transportation in the city of al-Bab, said that the process of issuing number plates depends on the identity documents recently granted to the citizens, seeking to feed all the data to the same network that covers all the cities and areas in the “Euphrates Shield” region, explaining to Enab Baladi that the registration system applies to Azaz, Qabasin, Jarabulus, as far as the city of al-Bab, in the eastern rural parts.
The handling of teaching driving by the Directorate of Education in rural Aleppo is similar to the Turkish model, for the Education Directorate in Turkey is the establishment to address this area, contrary to the situation in Syria, where the Directorate of Transportation is affiliated to the Syrian Ministry of Interior, which runs all its affairs.
In addition to the security-related benefits, which the registration of the vehicles and providing them with number plates offer, the process is liable to open new horizons, including the possibility of allowing the passage of the Syrian cars from rural Aleppo to Turkey and vice versa, especially trailers and shipping trucks, depending on the currently followed mechanism, which is a central network dedicated for the vehicles shared by the local official departments in rural Aleppo and the Turkish states that are running the area, Kilis, Gaziantep and Hatay.
Areas such as Idlib, also controlled by the opposition, is yet suffering from chaos in the car market that is making it difficult to maintain security, for the majority of the booby-trapped cars are unregistered and have unidentified owners.
In several areas of the governorate, especially the border ones, offices that teach driving and issue fraud licenses for cheap prices spread, akin to the situation in the Syrian regime-held areas, not to mention the counterfeiting of driver’s licenses.
In the areas it controls, particularly in the city of Manbij, northern Aleppo, the “Autonomous-administration” is also seeking to teach driving in specialized schools, through 15-day-courses, which end with granting licenses to people who pass the tests.