Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Tuesday that Syrian Law No. 10 of 2018 [HRW report] will allow the government to take private property without compensation, which will discourage refugees from returning to the war-devastated country.
The new law allows the government to create redevelopment zones, which allows the government to seize the land in that area if it is not claimed. People who successfully demonstrate ownership must still move out and will be able to receive the profits from redevelopment. However, HRW says that there are no criteria or deadlines for the projects
Those who are unsuccessful in proving ownership will not have a chance to appeal the decision. Owners have 30 days to make their claims of ownership.
HRW says that the physical presence necessary to make a claim of ownership is a barrier to those who fled the country. Relatives can make claims for owners. However, relatives must prove why the person cannot be there themselves. Additionally, if there is no one there to make the claim for the property owner, the land inevitably becomes Syrian government property.
According to HRW, the government acted similarly in 2012 and 2013 [HRW report], among other takings listed in detail in the report.
HRW says that the law is illegal under international law.