A property law passed on April 2 by the Syrian government made headlines in the mainstream media, with a number of outlets peddling the piece of legislation as an attempt by Damascus to prevent millions of Syrian refugees and apparent political opponents from returning home, by seizing their properties.
The law, which was ratified by President Bashar al-Assad last month after the Ministry of Local Administration and Environment submitted a draft version of the bill to Syria’s People’s Assembly, requires Syrians to prove their ownership of properties and land in specified war-torn areas of the country, primarily in parts of Damascus governorate, within 30 days, or face forfeiture.
Sweeping territorial gains by the Syrian Army and the wider coalition of government forces gave rise to the need for such a law, as many of these recently liberated areas had been under the control of a coalition of hardline Islamist militant groups for around six years.
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Both Al Jazeera and the Guardian insist that the Article 10 law is politically motivated, with the Syrian government allegedly aiming to solidify the demographic changes the multi-year war has brought about to give President Assad a more favorable hand.
However, this argument fails to take into account the secularity of the Syrian government, and the presence…