Saturday , February 27 2021

After IS, Damascus suburbs, residents were prevented from going home

Damascus (AFP) – Abu Mohammed thought he could finally return home when the jihadis were expelled from his Damascus neighborhood, but he says the Syrian authorities have prevented their return from abusing by classifying their homes as unfit to live.

In May, the ruling troops damaged the Islamic State grouping in the capital of the southern Tadamun neighborhood, including the air campaign and shells.

For the first time in six years, which meant complete administrative control, it was restored to the region and brought with it peace that aroused the hopes of homecoming.

But Abu Mohammed and the other Tadamun, instead, complained, authorities have held many homes ineffective and prevent their owners from returning to a controversial reform plan.

Five months after the IS had been forced out, government barriers prevent access to the former jihadist store for strict security and the AFP team did not get in.

At the last checkpoint, Rauni blocks the road. The layers of the nearby building were overlaid on top of one, and a hole was blown into the mosque's minaret.

Abu Mohammed said that he was able to see his home before the arrival of state inspectors – and insisted that it was still great to live despite an official decision.

"There was not even a bullet hole, it had just ruined it," he said, giving the nickname to avoid the cost share.

"It is so unfair for citizens who have been waiting for years (return) and are always in front of the state."

Another desirable returnee Othman al-Ayssami, 55, was proud.

"Why can not I and thousands of other people go home?" asked the lawyer.

"When the war ended, I came to the neighbor waiting for huge damage," he said.

But his four-story home "only the windows were broken," Ayssami said without specifying whether his residence was ineffective.

– "Right to go home" –

Tadamun's neighbor has been in a long gray area.

As the orchards have been inhabited since the late 1960s, people who fled Israel's occupied Golan Heights or flooded Damascus from land, often without formal permission to build there.

But today, its fate looks particularly insecure as the provincial authorities last month announced it would affect the controversial development agenda.

The law, referred to as Regulation 10, allows the government to plunder private property to create regional development projects, replacing owners with shares in new projects.

If their country is chosen, the owners will inevitably lose their possessions and have to seek shares in exchange.

Construction has not started to begin in Tadamun for several years, but officials have already been sent to their homes.

The task of the State Provincial Office is to evaluate the damage and assess whether some 25,000 homes are suitable for human housing.

Even though your home is reported as a standard, the resident can not move back until further notice.

When they realize that a large number of home-born homes were in fact damaged in the fight, members of the community held several meetings with the Commission.

Because of their frustration, they founded a Facebook page called "The Tadamun Exiles".

"We have the right to go home," wrote one resident.

– Red wax –

The Commission has divided neighboring countries into three sectors, the last of which covers the area that is being monitored.

Faisal Srour, Commissioner, told AFP that in the first two sectors, inspectors have "visited so far 10,000 homes, of which 2500 live and 1000 are not".

The rest were still classified, he said, but most units in the former jihadist area were probably classified as unsuitable.

"There the fighting took place," he said.

Rebels exceeded Tadamun in 2012, after which some of it fell three years later for IS jihadists.

Over the years, most residents had to flee their homes, and today there are only 65,000 people, compared to 250,000 before the outbreak of war in 2011.

Houses declared to be suitable for a dwelling are given a serial number and sealed with red wax, and officials demand that owners be able to return them easily.

Residents can "get back their houses back to normal by witnessing ownership," Tadamun mayor Ahmed Iskandar told AFP when speaking of President Bashar al-Assad's portrait of military uniform and sunglasses.

But since Tadam is an unofficial residential area, only ten percent of the homes have officially registered real estate – and have not been lost during the war.

Most of the other people in the area receive only six months of paper showing their place of residence.

Even for those who can not return, the abstention seems only temporary.

Finally, the reconstruction, which begins four or five years, should see the whole region break down into the ground.

Then, more than a tenth of the suburban population will ever be able to present property permits to get shares in the reconstruction project.

But Srour, the Inspectorate, said that those who could not demonstrate ownership – probably at least 90 percent of the population – would not be homeless.

"We do not throw people into the street, but we offer them compensation or alternative housing," he said.

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