Sat 08 Aug 2020

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Human rights activists warn residents of Yarmouk Camp against selling their properties to warlords

A Syrian woman sitting on the rubble of the Yarmouk Camp - 2018 (Yarmouk Camp News)

A Syrian woman sitting on the rubble of the Yarmouk Camp - 2018 (Yarmouk Camp News)

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Human rights sources have warned the Yarmouk Camp residents against selling their properties to warlords who try to exploit the prevailing state of despair after Damascus governorate issued the camp’s new regulatory plan threatening the return of its residents.

On 27 July, the “Action Group for the Palestinians of Syria (AGPS)” reported on activists and human rights figures their warnings to the Yarmouk Camp residents against selling their houses and properties to brokers who try to buy them at low prices.

The AGPS noted that these brokers had established limited-liability contractors to buy real estate from the residents at prices that do not match their real value.

According to the AGPS, warlords took advantage of people’s psychological state and the lack of documents proving ownership for some of them.

The organization indicated that lately, there had been a real estate purchasing activity for the camp’s properties in secret, mostly from Palestinian and Syrian brokers working in the real estate field.

These brokers include traders from the “Free Palestine Movement” headed by the Palestinian-Syrian businessman, Yasser Kashlak‎, and is associated with Iran’s “Nikken Syria” company for construction.

Meanwhile, Palestinian activists called for pressuring the Syrian regime government through international legal action to withdraw the camp’s organizational plan and stop it.

On 27 July, the AGPS quoted the lawyer and human rights activist Ayman Abu Hashem saying that the displacement policies that lead to the demographic change of a particular region are “war crimes” under the Geneva Conventions and a “crime against humanity” under the “Rome Statute” of the “International Criminal Court (ICC).”

Abu Hashem confirmed that the new regulatory plan of the Yarmouk Camp would change its demographic identity.

He urged the human rights organizations to coordinate and join efforts to impose sanctions on the real estate construction companies that will undertake the building works in the regions included in the organizational plan.

Last June, Damascus governorate announced its approval of the al-Qaboun area’s regulatory plan and the regulatory map of the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus outside the framework of Law No. 10 of 2018.

This plan was issued within the framework of Law No. 23 of 2015 that provides for “organizing the process of land preparation for construction, according to the general organizational plan and the detailed regulatory plan in the urban development schemes approved by one of the two following methods, the owner’s division, and the regulatory planning of the administrative authority.”

Nevertheless, the Yarmouk Camp’s regulatory plan was rejected by the Palestinians of Syria, amid calls from Palestinian human rights organizations for Damascus governorate to retract the plan, as it is seen as a complete change for the camp’s features.

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