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Al-Qamishli: PYD takes possession of refugees’ property

KURDWATCH, September 30, 2015—In early September 2015, the transitional administration for the canton of Jazirah, which was appointed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), passed a law allowing the administration to take possession of vehicles, real estate, land, and cash assets belonging to Syrians who have fled the territory that it governs. The law is intended »to protect« this property and put it into »service of the population of the autonomous administration.« The confiscated possessions may be put to economic use with proceeds going to the administration. Those affected by the law may contest the confiscation of their property within one month of a notification to this effect. Property will not be confiscated if emigrants appoint first or second-degree relatives to administer it. Administrators who do not fall into this category are threatened with one year in prison and a fine of at least one million Syrian lira. If those affected by the law or their first or second-degree relatives return to the PYD‑controlled territories, they have the right to recover their property, but they have no rights to the proceeds generated in the interim. In mid‑September, employees of the transitional administration were observed locating potential objects in various districts of the city of al‑Qamishli.

In many cases, the law amounts to the dispossession of refugees, and it should be understood in the context of various PYD measures that seek to prevent people from fleeing the Kurdish regions. Already for some time, the PYD has been requiring residents in the territories it controls to obtain authorization from its security service, the Asayiş, if they want to travel abroad.  

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