Mon 21 Sep 2020

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Syrian regime’s latest grant to Russia depletes Syria and contradicts its constitution

Ras al-Bassit area in Lattakia province, western Syria - 08 June 2019 (SANA)

Ras al-Bassit area in Lattakia province, western Syria - 08 June 2019 (SANA)

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Syrian regime’s government has granted its ally, Russia, eight hectares of land, and the same amount of coastal water, in Lattakia province, western Syrian, to establish a medical center for the Russian Air Forces.

On 19 August, the Russian Official Portal of Legal Information published that the regime’s government signed an agreement on 21 June in Damascus before the Russian government approves it on 30 July in the Russian capital, Moscow.

The Syrian-Russian agreement states that “the Syrian Arab Republic agrees to transfer a piece of land and water area in Lattakia province to Russia.”

This agreement was part of “Protocol No. 1 of a previous treaty to regulate the Russian Air Forces’ military presence on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The treaty, signed on 26 August 2015, formally allowed the Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Article II of the treaty provided that Russia is not obliged to give any compensation for the use of the land area adjacent to the “Hmeimim” military airbase and its installations.

The treaty also included that this procedure would remain valid as long as the main agreement on the Russian military presence in Syria was still in force.

The land piece granted to Russia was defined with a map, which remains unpublished until this report’s preparation time. Moreover, the two countries’ officials did not publish a map for the water area to be given to Russia, although it was referred to as eight hectares of the Lattakia coast at a width of 65 to 180 meters.

The agreement is contrary to Syria’s Constitution

Article 1 of the current Syrian Constitution stipulates that no part of the Syrian territory may be ceded.

The Head of the “Free Syrian Lawyers” organization, lawyer Ghazwan Koronfol, said to Enab Baladi that this article, in all its jurisprudential considerations, does not allow any Syrian government to cede ownership of a part of the country’s maritime, land, or air territory.

Under this constitutional provision, any agreement that the Syrian regime’s government has made with any foreign party to cede territory is considered “ineffective” because it is unconstitutional, according to Koronfol.

Koronfol pointed out that the constitutional text of Article 1 did not identify the type of land, meaning that it is not permissible to cede an area of ​​land of any kind, whether it is public or private lands owned by the state or belonging to natural or legal persons.

He added the Syrian government is entitled, as long as it does not violate the text of article 1 of the constitution and within the context of foreign investments for the benefit of the Syrian economy, to grant a foreign party a certain land area for commercial investment for a period defined by the parties of the agreement and in exchange for appropriate compensation.

However, the land area of Lattakia province was granted based on the agreement between Russia and the Syrian regime for free use without specifying any financial compensation, according to the agreement’s text.

Koronfol stressed that such agreements should also be approved by Syria’s People’s Council for ratification if they were in accordance with the constitution’s articles.

On the other hand, if the agreements were contrary to the constitution, then the People’s Council’s ratification would be void, for its approval does not legitimize what is illegal and unconstitutional.

According to Koronfol’s expression, this agreement is a “depletion” to the country as it would not benefit economically from it.

He added this agreement can be canceled in the future along with its effects.

Nonetheless, if the agreement involved private property, those properties’ owners can recover their land and compensate for the lost profits and damage.

 

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