The Quneitra Governorate and notables from the city of Khan Arnabeh reached an agreement in late 2021 to address the lack of state property within real estate zone number 1/58, according to a quote attributed by the Al-Watan newspaper to the director of Cadastral Affairs in the Quneitra Governorate.
According to a local correspondent for The Syria Report, agricultural land in Khan Arnabeh that had been seized under Agrarian Reform Law No. 161 of 1958 was later distributed to residents and local farmers. Under Article 6 of that law, the state may take a share of the seized property to implement public projects or build facilities for the public benefit. The state may also ensure that its share is located in one real estate zone, as it did in Khan Arnabeh, where the state was allocated a share of real estate zone 1/58. According to our correspondent, the total area of the zone is around 50 hectares and the state’s share is about 10 percent of it.
The main obstacle preventing the subdivision of properties in zone 1/58 between rights holders is that the state property within the zone has not yet been determined, nor is the percentage of deduction from private properties. Thus, the ownership of the rights holders remains only as shares. The state has subsequently placed a sign on all the properties in zone 1/58 preventing their disposal, meaning that rights holders are not permitted to sell or dispose of their shares. Nevertheless, large parts of zone 1/58 were included in the city’s zoning plans after the latest expansion of the plans in 2012-2015. The new plans changed the status of the land from agricultural to residential-commercial that can be constructed upon, which of course led to increased prices that people still cannot benefit from.
A solution to this problem came in the form of rights holders relinquishing part of their shares to the state after determining their exact location. The implementation of the agreement reached at the end of last year will positively impact private property by lifting the sign that previously prevented their disposal, according to the newspaper. At the same time, this agreement would preserve state property. Under the agreement, after officially relinquishing their shares, rights holders must file a lawsuit to terminate the common property, so that they may clearly determine their shares and the locations of those shares. The agreement has yet to be implemented.
In the decade following the issuance of the Agrarian Reform Law, the state seized properties beyond what it described as the ceiling for agricultural ownership – that is, those between 15 and 200 hectares according to the region and type of irrigation – and became the owner of those seized lands. The state then determined the surface areas of the seized properties in each village and distributed them to residents and farmers.