In 2015, the Syria Trust for Development established the Deyari Company as a single-person limited liability company to execute contracting and tendering work on its behalf. The Syria Trust for Development is a non-governmental organisation registered and licensed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour with the number Q/4/1261 in 2001, headquartered in the Mazzeh Eastern Villas district of Damascus.
The Syria Trust has a board of trustees representing all its 14 affiliated institutions, companies and programmes, including Deyari. Most notably, Asma Al-Akhras, the wife of President Bashar Al-Assad, holds the position of the Chair of the Trust’s Board of Trustees.
According to the Official Gazette’s Issue No. 41, part 2, for the year 2015, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection issued Decision No. 1662 of 2015 ratifying the bylaws for Deyari as a single-person limited liability company owned by the Syria Trust for Development.
The Ministry’s decision defined the company’s purpose as carrying out private and public contracting and tendering, leasing machinery, managing and investing in facilities (except tourist ones), importing, exporting, distributing, and selling all permitted materials wholesale and retail, providing services and entering tenders and auctions with the public, private and joint sectors.
The company is also empowered to carry out all commercial, investment, industrial and service activities. It is permitted to own real estate and carry out development and expansion activities, including contributing to, owning shares of, merging with and establishing companies dealing with similar work. The bylaws of the company only barred the construction and trading of residential properties. The company is managed by a board of directors consisting of five members who are appointed by the Syria Trust, and who meet the conditions set by Companies Law No. 29 of 2011. The starting capital of the company was SYP 10 million. Though it is headquartered in the Damascus governorate, it has the right to establish branches in all governorates.
Notably, the Official Gazette’s Issue No. 45, part 2, for the year 2015, republished a nearly identical copy of Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection Decision No. 1662 of 2015 to ratify the basic system of the company. There is no substantial difference between the two ratification decisions, except in the wording of some sentences and the arrangement of paragraphs.
In Issue No. 13, part 2 of 2019, the Official Gazette published Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection Decision No. 630, amending some articles of Deyaris’ bylaws. This included adding engineering and technical studies and consultations, as well as interior and exterior finishing works to its list of activities. It also added the trading of all building materials, metals, woods, and electronic and engineering equipment, home and hotel furnishings, central heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, solar and alternative energy sources. Furthermore, the company was now allowed to invest in the management of tourist facilities as well as represent local, Arab and foreign companies and agencies. The company’s name became Deyari o.p l.l.c, and its headquarters were moved to Rural Damascus, raising its capital to SYP 100 million. The management is assumed by a single general manager appointed by the owner (the Syria Trust). Susan Abbas was named the general manager of the company.
Later that same year, Official Gazette Issue No. 26, part 2 published the decision of the Minister of Domestic Trade No. 1895 endorsing the amendment of Article 8 of Deyari’sbylaws. According to the amendment, the shareholder handles the management of the company affairs and may appoint one manager or more, with only the owner having the right to determine and modify their powers. In case a manager other than the owner is appointed, their powers are limited – they cannot manage the funds without the approval of the owner, which is the Syria Trust for Development. With this amendment, Susan Abbas became the executive manager of the company, not its general manager. No further information about the company’s structure is available.
According to the Syria Trust for Development’s website, Deyari provides suitable conditions for establishing projects linked to the Trust’s developmental activities, implementing its work to meet the needs of local communities as much as the technical requirements of the project under construction.
Deyari relies on raw materials and human resources existing in the local communities concerned with the projects and provides the necessary training for those wishing to work in new sectors. It also relies on local workers to maintain these physical spaces upon completion of the construction process. This approach, the website adds, has made Deyari turn the infrastructure development process into developmental opportunities for local communities. This approach has also attracted the interest of the private sector, the website says, which has contributed to providing many income-generating opportunities for the Syria Trust for Development.
Meanwhile, Deyari’s website states that the company offers a wide range of services, including those related to towers, offices, hotels, historic building restoration, shopping centres, living environments, hospitals and facility management. However, contrary to the first item in its bylaws, the company says it offers services related to homes, villas, apartments and residential complexes.
However, the company’s website does not provide much detail about its operations. For example, it mentions that in 2018 it completed renovating 265 apartments in Aleppo. This provided temporary job opportunities for more than 203 local workers, spread across 18 different specialist work crews. Similarly, at the beginning of 2019, they finished renovating 150 units in Deir-ez-Zor, without giving any details about the status of the units, their owners, or the nature of the work completed. This lack of detail is consistent for most of the projects that the company has completed or is completing.
Their main beneficiary, according to their website, is the Syria Trust for Development. In some cases, other beneficiaries are mentioned. For instance, a 2017 project to restore 54 apartments in Ashrafiyat Sahnaya, Rural Damascus, was for the benefit of the Antiochian Patriarchate.
In another project involving the renovation of units in the Shaar region of eastern Aleppo, completed at the beginning of 2020 according to the company’s website, the beneficiary was an organisation named Rescate. The Syria Report published an article in July 2023 about the role of Rescate, a Spanish NGO, in renovating units in the Shaar region of Aleppo. Interestingly, according to a correspondent for The Syria Report in the area, restoration work in that district did not actually start until the last quarter of 2022, and the renovated units were handed over to the city council at the beginning of 2023. The city council had determined which units would be renovated and how they would be distributed, without allowing that freedom of choice to Rescate. According to local sources, some of the renovated units belonged to absentees from the opposition members forcibly displaced from Aleppo, while some were owned by city council employees, security officers, and officials in the Syria Trust for Development.
Deyari appears to receive funding from international and non-governmental organisations operating in Syria, to carry out contracting and tendering work on behalf of the Syria Trust for Development and other partners. Some of Deyari’s partners include the Aga Khan Foundation, UNICEF, UNRWA, the World Health Organisation, and organisations interested in heritage protection. Deyari takes on contracts for renovating schools, commercial buildings and artisanal and heritage markets, as well as d renovating and restoring hospitals and medical clinics, mosques, archaeological sites, and more.
According to The Syria Report’s sources, Deyari recently began rehabilitating shops in the artisan market located in the historic Al-Suleimaniyeh Hospice in Damascus, which are endowments properties. Previously, the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ directorates used to lease these shops, with lessees paying a contribution to the Endowments Directorate, along with a symbolic annual rent. However, the Ministry of Tourism terminated the investment contracts with the shopkeepers in the market and warned shop owners and occupants to vacate by the end of 2022.