Residents of a Syrian town destroyed during the country’s civil war are being asked to pay for the cost of rebuilding their homes. The Syrian regime, which is seeking international support for reconstruction has told residents of Adra Al-Amaliya, located northeast of Damascus, to pay 40 per cent of the cost of reconstruction.
Syrian news agency Alsouria Net, which reported the story did not provide details as to why residents are being told to foot the bill but it reported the regime saying that Adra Al-Amaliya was a special case.
Residents will be required to pay 40 per cent of the cost in a monthly instalment plan following the reconstruction of their homes. The plan was explained in detail by the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper which quoted Syrian officials saying that “contributions to the repairing of apartments in Adra Al-Amaliya will be paid in full, and then the owners of apartments will repay just 40 per cent of the total costs of the entire apartment in monthly instalments, once repairs are completed.”
The regime official justified this decision by saying that “the Adra Al-Amaliya suburb will be a special case in terms of reconstruction, because it is a labour suburb.”
The areas, which the regime has regained control over, still suffer from a lack of services because of the regime’s inability to cover the costs of reconstruction.
The estimated cost of rebuilding Syria varies widely. While a 2017 World Bank study puts the price at around $225 billion, more recent assessments suggest a total closer to $400 billion; others expect the sum to approach $1 trillion.
Western countries have been reluctant to participate in Syria’s reconstruction in the absence of a political transition process based on UN resolutions.
It’s unclear as to whether sectarianism played a part in the demand on residents to pay for their own reconstruction. The regime has been accused of cementing its authority by making it difficult for non-Alawites to resettle in the country. For example a new law was passed which granted refugees just one year to reclaim their property before the government seizes it. Additional bureaucratic requirements have been put in place which critics say are designed to allow Syrian authorities to refuse re-entry to anyone they don’t like.