“Autonomous Administration” issues law to manage properties of Syrians abroad

A neighborhood of the al-Qamishli city, the largest region of al-Hasakah province northern Syria - 30 January 2018 (Enab Baladi)

A neighborhood of the al-Qamishli city, the largest region of al-Hasakah province northern Syria - 30 January 2018 (Enab Baladi)


The “Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES)” has issued laws of “Public Control” and “Protection and Management of the Absentee Property” to manage the property of those outside Syria, in the areas under its control.

The NES’s official website reported on 6 August that the two laws were passed by the “General Council” of the NES during its session held on 5 August.

According to the law, the term “absentee” includes every person who holds the Syrian nationality and the likes who are not registered in the civil registry and do not have Syrian citizenship as by the 1962 census. Those people should have a permanent residence outside Syria, and none of their first or second-degree relatives should be staying in Syria.

The law stipulated the formation of the “Protection of the Absentee Property” committee following a decision by the “Executive Council” of the NES. This committee consists of 11 representatives from the areas under the control of the NES.

The committee, headed by two officials, is responsible for the administrative works and the inventory and preservation of the absentee’s property and assets.

The committee’s tasks also include studying the objections submitted to it from those affected by its decisions, assisted by subcommittees in the NES’ controlled areas.

The two officials follow the committee’s work, commissioned by the “Executive Council,” administratively and financially.

The officials are authorized to file all lawsuits and present all legal defenses “to preserve and protect the absentee’s property.”

The committee does not have the right to sell or purchase the absentees’ property.

Nevertheless, the law gives the committee of the “Protection of the Absentee Property” access to renting and investing property and putting it in the service of “community development” without changing its descriptions.

All contracts concluded prior to the law on the “absentee property,” including all movable, immovable, and owned assets for anyone who had left Syria for a year or more for permanent and continuous residence outside the Syrian territory, are considered “temporary.”

According to the law articles, the absentees lose the right to a quarter of their property “without prejudice to the principle right” if they or one of their first or second-degree relatives did not attend within a maximum period of one year.

As for the money of the absentee, it is only delivered after the approval of the presidency of the “Executive Council” affiliated to the “Absentee Property” department.

The law sentences anyone who covered, misused, or benefited from the absentees’ property with imprisonment for less than one year and a penalty of up to five million Syrian pounds (SYP = 2,200 USD) or with the two penalties.

Initial reactions

The NES’ decision raised different reactions, some considered it positive, while others accused the NES of exploiting the law for its benefit.

One “Facebook” user named Shahin Gilo commented that “this decision is a robbery of people’s  property by all accounts.”

Gilo called on those responsible for the law to stop what he described as “hideous practices” before people burst on them.

Another user named “Abu al-Sheikh” thanked the NES for protecting the people, as per his description.

While Dounia Muhammed al-Qanoun wondered,” how could property seizures be considered as protection and management.”

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