The pace of implementation of Decree No. 237, issued on September 14, 2021, to establish a zoning area at the northern entrance to Damascus has quickened in recent weeks. The Damascus governorate appears determined to adhere to the timetable set for establishing the development zone in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 10 of 2018. The 2018 law authorises the creation of one or more such zones within the general zoning plan of an administrative unit. The northern entrance project is the first instance of the controversial law going into effect in Damascus governorate.
The more recent Decree No. 237 stipulated the creation of a development zone based on Zoning Plan No. 104, which was issued and approved in June 2019 in accordance with Law No. 10. The 200-hectare development zone encompassas the Qaboun Industrial Zone, which itself comprises 50 hectares of land carved out of neighbouring Harasta.
In October 2021, the Damascus governorate formed four committees tasked with the categorisation and inventory of real estate in the area. The governorate has granted rights holders a full year, starting from October 24, 2021, to submit documents proving their rights to the Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66, which is part of the governorate. According to official statements, the committees are expected to complete their categorisation and inventory work within three months – that is, by this upcoming February.
The Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66 oversees the development zone at Damascus’ northern entrance, despite the fact that its zoning plans fall under Law No. 10 – an indication that the Damascus governorate sees the two laws as complementary.
When the Inventory and Description Committee completes its duties, the Real Estate Appraisal committee will take over in order to determine the equities granted to right holders. Then, the Distribution Committee will convert these into development zone shares.
The Damascus governorate has wasted little time in carrying out this process. In late November 2021, the Directorate for Implementation of Decree No. 66 invited rights holders to convene at its headquarters in Al-Mazzeh to elect their representatives to the committees. On December 05, they elected two experts to represent them in the Real Estate Appraisal Committee and another two to represent them in the Distribution Committee. The Distribution Committee estimates the value of organisational plots of land within the development zone and distributes them to rights holders.