Fri 27 Nov 2020

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One from Idlib and another from Aleppo… vehicles with more than one license plate in northern Syria

A vehicle in northern Syria carrying in its front side two licence plates, one from northern Aleppo countryside and the other from Idlib - 2020 (activists on Facebook)

A vehicle in northern Syria carrying in its front side two licence plates, one from northern Aleppo countryside and the other from Idlib - 2020 (activists on Facebook)

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“I drive from Azaz to Idlib every three days a week because of my work’s nature, and that is why I had my car licensed in both areas.”

Thirty-two years old, “Abu Ayman” recounted to Enab Baladi how he had to license his vehicle in Idlib and northern Aleppo countryside, as he works in shipping commercial goods by the vehicle between the two areas.

Abu Ayman, who preferred not to mention his full name for security reasons, said to Enab Baladi that “in the liberated areas, we were unable to establish a civilian institution like a directorate for transportation.” He added, “This directorate would be responsible for vehicle mobilization and inspection and regulating the process of vehicle plates registration in Idlib and western Aleppo countryside from one side, and Afrin and northern Aleppo countryside from the other side.

In recent weeks, Syrian activists circulated through social media images of vehicles in northern Syria, carrying more than one number plate in the front and the back of the vehicle.

Owners of vehicles with two number plates violate traffic laws and regulations, as a vehicle requires a single license plate with specific numbers obtained upon its registration.

Moreover, vehicles with more than one number plate travel between areas of different military influence, as the “Syrian Interim Government (SIG)” controls the western Aleppo countryside, while the “Syrian Salvation Government (SSG)” controls Idlib province, and both governments do not recognize the legitimacy of the other.

According to Article “108” of the Road Traffic Law No.31 of 2004 in Syria, each vehicle must have a front and a rear formal license plate along with its registration license number.

The relevant transportation directorate is responsible for providing registration plates for motor vehicles and trailers. The directorate is also responsible for installing the license plates on the vehicles.

The registration number plates are considered state property, and vehicle owners cannot dispose of them, sell them, or give them to someone else.

The director of the transportation directorate of the SSG in Idlib, Mohammed Baylasani, said to Enab Baladi that “as a general directorate for transportation of the ministry of local administration and services, we do not register vehicles registered before in northern Aleppo countryside. “Instead, we keep the plate registered in northern Syrian areas,” he added.

Baylasani added that the directorate is planning to solve the license plate problem. He said, ” we do not issue fines for these vehicles, and we are working on solving this problem with the concerned authorities in northern Aleppo countryside, especially the Azaz area.

Baylasani added, in Azaz, vehicles registered in Idlib’s transportation directorate are not accepted, especially after the cancellation of registration fees for vehicles in Idlib and the extension of free of charge registration for two consecutive times.

The registration license plate procedure goes through several stages.

First, the vehicle is examined and identified according to its type and commercial name. Then the vehicle’s (chassis) number is documented on a special record. After that, the vehicle will be given a registration record and a new serial number fixed on the vehicle with a metal plate issued by the transportation directorate in Idlib.

Samir al-Ahmad, a resident from Azaz city in northern Aleppo countryside, said to Enab Baladi that license plates are not the only problematic thing regarding the transportation of northern Syria; the vehicles are classified into several types also.

The first type includes the vehicles with number plates issued in the Syrian regime’s controlled-areas.

The second type is the vehicles introduced by traders through border crossings after the regime lost control of the area, and they are called the “European cars.”

The third type applies to vehicles that carry license plates issued in the regime’s held-areas and whose identification documents were lost. These vehicles are called “orphaned cars.”

Meanwhile, the local councils and administrative bodies in Idlib and Aleppo countryside work on licensing vehicles to regulate the traffic and transport sector, enforce laws and avoid explosions in which unauthorized vehicles or motorcycles are often used.

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