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ID cards issued by local council: Do they meet the needs of al-Bab citizens?

Man’ fingerprint was taken to obtain his ID card in the Local Council of al-Bab city – December, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

Man’ fingerprint was taken to obtain his ID card in the Local Council of al-Bab city – December, 2019 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Aleppo countryside

The civil registration departments affiliated to the local councils in the opposition-controlled areas provided a “temporary” alternative to the original documents provided by the official institutions of the Syrian regime, and a solution to a problem that emerged with the control of the opposition factions over the Syrian north for a long time.

Birth certificates, marriage registration, ID cards, and other identification documents are obtained by citizens from the civil registration departments within the opposition regions in the north of Syria, while these operations in the northern countryside of Aleppo take a more organized form, since they are linked to Turkish official records.

Enab Baladi surveyed the opinions of a segment of the al-Bab citizens, regarding the usefulness and importance of the identity papers granted by the Local Council, via “Chou Mochkeltak” program, which is broadcast on its social media platforms, on Mondays and Fridays.

Enab Baladi also met the Head of the Civil Registration Department of al-Bab city, Abdul-Razaq al-Abdul Razaq, who explained the method of obtaining identification documents from the department offices.

How can I obtain my official documents in al-Bab city?

Al-Abdul Razaq clarified that the registration of marriages in al-Bab city, Aleppo countryside, is carried out with the presence of two witnesses at the office of the village chief, who records the marriage; then, the couple obtain a family statement translated into the Turkish language by the Civil Registration Department.

He added that Department validates marriages in the judicial institutions, asserting that there are ten sectors in the city with ten appointed chiefs, in addition to the chiefs assigned to supervise the IDPs’ affairs.

As for the individuals, who did not register their marriages and have children, Al-Abdul Razaq explained that they must first go to the village chief in order to obtain birth certificates for his children first; and then go to court accompanied with witnesses to register the marriage.

After the marriage is validated, the couple should head to the documents’ office in the Civil Registration Department, in order to record the marriage and obtain official papers from the Department, which also verifies the data electronically.

Al-Abdul Razaq stressed that all the papers issued by the Department are considered as official in the countryside of Aleppo and the rest of the areas under the opposition control.

He pointed out that people, who hold identification documents, whether for marriage or children, such as a family statement issued from the regime-controlled regions, are dealt with extreme caution, due to the widespread forgery of official documents.

Al-Abdul Razaq briefed Enab Baladi on the latest statistics regarding the official documents issued by the Civil Registration Department, saying that the statistics teams counted 82,752 residents in al-Bab city, in addition to 64,859 displaced persons, pointing out that these figures include al-Bab city center.

In 2019, the Civil Registration Department issued 5,051 family statements, 1,482 death certificates, 105 missing people’s data, and 1,410 birth certificates, as well as 50 divorce statements, in addition to 2,993 identification documents and 100,900 ID cards.

No absolute trust

According to the survey conducted by Enab Baladi, a segment of the population in al-Bab city looks at the documents they obtain from the Local Council with suspicion, because they believe that those documents will not be recognized by any party, even Turkey, which supports al-Bab Local Council.

People, who adopt this view, added that these identification documents can replace the regime’s authorizations only in opposition-controlled areas, questioning the validity of these papers in terms of international recognition.

According to many respondents to the survey, the institutions operating in the countryside of Aleppo cannot present an alternative that they can rely on in the future, because they think that those official bodies are not organized enough.

Another section of the citizens believed that the official records issued by the Local Council and its affiliated institutions in the countryside of Aleppo constitute a realistic alternative to the records obtained in the Syrian regime-controlled regions, stressing the importance of boycotting the Syrian regime and cutting off support through stopping paying fees to the regime and suspending official transactions in its departments.

Others hope that the official documents submitted by the Local Council would be recognized internationally, considering that Turkey-backed local councils must have obtained international permission to initiate this step.

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