Syrian refugees and rights groups have voiced concern that they could be left in permanent exile because of a proposed law which allows the Syrian government to seize abandoned properties.
The move, labelled “law number 10”, would have drastic consequences for the millions of Syrians who have fled and could mean they have no homes to return to if they ever go back to Syria.
Al Jazeera spoke to one woman named Um Ahmed, who fled Syria for Lebanon in 2013 and expressed anxiety that she could lose her home.
“I don’t know if I still have a house or if it was destroyed,” she said, adding “when we fled, we fled with nothing so I don’t have any documents with me.”
Um Ahmed’s story is not unusual, just nine percent of refugees took property deeds with them when they fled.
According to Lama Fakih of Human Rights Watch, the timeframe given to establish property right also made it impossible for those who have fled to establish their ownership.
“Many Syrian refugees no longer have valid identity documents. They will not be able to prepare the types of case files that they would need to show that they are property owners within the timeframe that is given under law number 10,” she said.
Source – AL JAZEERA