In Focus | Seizure of Property, Assets of Military Evaders and their Relatives
On February 6, 2021, Colonel Elias al-Bitar, head of the army’s Exemptions and Reserves Branch of the Ministry of Defense in the regime's government, informed the country of decisions that allow authorities to seize the monetary assets or property of the military service evaders and their own immediate relatives property.
The head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad had introduced in December 2020 amendments to the Military Service Law No. 30, which originally required a conditional seizure of movable and immovable assets for those who failed to pay the exemption fees for those reached 42 years and did not serve in the military. The amendment did not refer to any legal provision authorizing the seizure of draft evaders’ relatives’ assets, but it seems that the colonel's statement comes in order to implement the future executive policy, where the regime might plan seizing the monetary assets or funds of the military service evaders' immediate relatives, if the evaders themselves have nothing to pay.
Under the recent statement, there are several considerations should be taken into account, the most important of which are:
First: Undoubtedly, the main goal of the amendments approved in Law No. 30 of 2020 is to collect financial resources in light of the severe economic crisis that the Syrian regime suffers from, as it has worked during the previous years to expand alternatives for paying the exemption fees and make it available to wider segments of those are wanted for compulsory service and it also used such a matter to tempt those who wanted to settle their security situation, although the latest press release indicate that the issue of exemption fee will be transformed from a tool for collecting money and encourging people to pay into an instrument of coercion.
Second: the statement often comes in order to put more pressure on those fleeing the war to pay the exemption fees that was approved last year, and it addresses a message that says: in the event that payment is not made, the authorities will move to seizure, and it is believed that the regime did not collect the desired amounts as a result of the previous amendments that allowed paying some evaders' fines.
Third: Implementing such a procedure legally, requires the individual to reach 42 years of age. That is, the provision should not applied against the young men who recently completed 20 years and has not yet paid the compulsory service exemption fee, it could be done after 22 years and 3 months, which is the period during which a man officially exceeds the age of 42 years.
Fourth: The statement aims at pressuring countries hosting Syrian refugees, as the failure to facilitate the payment of cash fees in foreign currencies to the Syrian regime will make it move to seize the funds; This means that these refugees will turn into permanent refugees in the future which would complicate their affairs, so the regime hopes that the matter will prompt parties in these countries to discuss procedures to facilitate the payment process or negotiate with al-Assad in order to reconsider such laws.
Fifth: In the event that the regime turns the content of this statement into a law, it will help in the long run to rearrange the population groups in the main cities the regime controls to become more "homogeneous" according to its own view, which in turn allows to seize the properties and homes of old and new opponents, and to gift them later to public base and supporters, including forces or militias affiliated with or supported its army in controlling the areas that were previously out of their control.
Unit of Analysis and Thinking - Jusoor for Studies