“Status statement” governs real estate transactions in Idlib

A residential building in one of Idlib's neighborhoods - 14 July 2020 (Enab Baladi / Anas al-Khouli)

A residential building in one of Idlib's neighborhoods - 14 July 2020 (Enab Baladi / Anas al-Khouli)


Enab Baladi – Idlib

The financial need pushed Mariam (pseudonym for security reasons), a resident from Binnish city in eastern Idlib, to consider selling her house in the city center. However, she was informed by one of the lawyers, whom she used to ask about her house selling procedures and documentation mechanism, that she needs to obtain a “security clearance” as one of the papers required to finalize the sale.

Mariam expressed her resentment to Enab Baladi, as she denounced the need for obtaining a security clearance and wondered in a disapproving tone that “how can evidence that some person has connections with the Syrian regime prevents him/her from selling a house or land he/she owns in the city where they were born and lived in?”

The documentation mechanism of real estate transactions

Property documentation procedures, and selling and buying real estate transactions are concluded in the “real estate documentation office” in the “general directorate of real estate” (tabo) of the “Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) in Idlib.

In property sales transactions in Idlib, the relevant parties prepare a written contract with all of their data; then, the buyer files a lawsuit to register the property in his name. Based on the lawsuit, the contract parties attend several sessions with the judge, who rules for property transfer from the seller to the buyer, according to what Idlib’s general manager of the real estate directorate, Abdul Rahman Zain, said to Enab Baladi.

In a previous interview with Enab Baladi, lawyer Ahmed Khabo in Idlib clarified that the documentation mechanism for property transactions in Idlib includes providing a civil registration record or a true copy of the owner and the contract’s second party’s identity card.

It also includes submitting a contract, in which the act of property disposition is defined, whether it was a sale, a mortgage, or a lease, according to Khabo.

The documentation procedures require that the two parties wishing to dispose of a property should provide a document proving that they are not prohibited from such acts due to a court order for reasons of madness, or that the property was seized after a particular lawsuit. This document is issued from the office of “people prohibited from transactions” in Idlib.

Khabo added any person wishing to dispose of his/her property is required to submit a security clearance to prove that no party in the contract has dealings with any side of the Syrian regime.

A”status statement” to disclose connections with the Syrian regime

The SSG’s media office director, Molham al-Ahmad, said to Enab Baladi that the SSG decided to ask for a “status statement” (security clearance) for people before real-estate contracts, whether a lease or buying contracts or any related matters. Al-Ahmad said that the decision came to verify these people’s judicial records in criminal cases or suspicion of having connections with the Syrian regime.

Al-Ahmad justified the SSG’s decision to require a “status statement” (security clearance) was because there are no identity cards in Syria’s northern areas and to make sure of the security record of the tenant, lessor, the property owner, and the occupier.

Al-Ahmad added that when a person’s connection with the regime is proven, the connection’s level and nature are investigated. The case is either transferred to a civil court or to the security services based on the person’s strong connections and communications with the Syrian regime, which is considered a punishable crime.

According to al-Ahmad, the security clearance requirement is a necessary measure, and concerned authorities worldwide are to be blamed if they fell short in the task of proving someone’s connection to the Syrian regime.

Meanwhile, the SSG did not answer questions about how to obtain a “security clearance,” the clearance’s granting authority, how long to obtain it, how long does it take for the SSG to give consent, or how the person can sell his/her property if he/she were proven to have connections with the Syrian regime.

However, Khabo mentioned to Enab Baladi that the “studies office in Idlib” is responsible for granting security clearances.

In 2015, the Syrian regime’s government issued Circular No. 4554. The circular includes adding transactions of sale, lease, and property transfer of houses and shops to the cases that require a prior security clearance from the relevant authorities.

This circular was considered a violation of the individual property rights provided for in the Syrian Constitution in Article 15, which affirms an individual’s right to dispose of his/her property freely and not to be confiscated.

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