This text, enacted at the beginning of 2018, establishes a protected area around the Fijeh Springs, which involves the expropriation of real estate within the immediate surrounding of the water canals that transport water from the springs to Damascus.
Law No. 1 of 2018
Establishment of a Reserve Around Fijeh Springs
The President of the Republic
In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution
Promulgates the following:
The following words and phrases have the following meanings:
The Minister:The Minister of Water Resources
The Establishment: The Public Establishment for Drinking Water and Sanitation in the Governorate of Damascus.
General Director: The General Director of the Public Establishment for Drinking Water and Sanitation in the Governorate of Damascus.
Direct Reserve:The land that surrounds the water source, allowing access to it for the purposes of the water source’s maintenance, its preservation, and preventing it from being polluted.
Indirect Reserve: The lands surrounding the water source’s Direct Reserve, within which it is forbidden to engage in particular activities, so as to prevent the water source’s pollution and depletion.
- Two reserves are to be established around the Fijeh Springs:
- The Direct Reserve
- The Indirect Reserve
- The dimensions of the two reserves noted above are to be specified via the topographical plan (1/1,000,000 scale) and plan (1/5,000 scale) attached to this law. A copy of each plan is to be held by the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Local Administration and the Environment, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, the Governorate of Damascus, the Governorate of Rural Damascus, and the Establishment.
- Fixed signs are to demarcate the boundaries of the Direct and Indirect Reserves on the ground.
The appropriation of real estate, and portions of real estate, falling within the Direct Reserve is subject to the plans attached to the law, and to compensation equivalent to the actual value of the property.
- Two reserves are to be established along the two aqueducts that carry water from Fijeh Springs to Damascus:
- The Direct Reserve
- The Indirect Reserve
- The Direct Reserve for the two aqueducts is to be 10 meters wide on each side of the tunnel, calculated from the centre of the tunnel, per the attached plan that is to be prepared by the Public Company for Technical Studies and Investments.
- The Indirect Reserve for the two aqueduct tunnels is to be 20 meters on each side of the tunnel, calculated from the centre of the tunnel and including the Direct Reserve.
- It is absolutely forbidden to engage in any of the following activities in the Direct Reserve of Fijeh Springs, or the two aqueducts from Fijeh Springs to Damascus:
- Digging wells of any depth.
- Filling holes of any size.
- Creating quarries, dirt beds, or sand pits, or creating any hole for any reason.
- Carrying stones, dirt, or sand outside of the reserve for any reason.
- Building any industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential, or tourist facilities, including fuel stations, fuel tanks, or garages; using fertilizers or herbicides; or building housing of any type whether the facilities or buildings are made of cement, stone, wood, metal, or any other material.
- Establishing or extending roads of any grade.
- Erecting any installations or tanks for any purpose.
- Undertaking any agricultural, industrial, commercial, touristic, or construction work.
- The work of the Establishment in pursuit of the goals specified in its discharge instrument are excepted from the provisions of paragraph 1.
- The licensing of any official body for any of the works described in paragraph 1 of Article 5 is considered absolutely void, does not establish any right, and is not entitled to any compensation.
- The organisational plans of the municipalities of Al-Fijeh and Dayr Muqaran are to be amended to eliminate the residential zones located within the Direct Reserve.
- All of the works forbidden in the Direct Reserve noted in Article 5 above are also forbidden in the Indirect Reserve for Fijeh Springs and the two aqueducts from the Fijeh Springs to Damascus. The current situation is to be documented upon the promulgation of this law through aerial photographs taken by an official body of the Syrian Arab Republic and verified by the Public Directorate for Real Estate Interests. The photos are to be held by the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Local Administration and the Environment, the Governorate of Damascus, the Governorate of Rural Damascus, and the Establishment.
- The villages located in the Indirect Reserve of Fijeh Springs and the two aqueducts from Fijeh springs to Damascus are allowed to engage in the following works within their current boundaries:
- Practice rain-fed agriculture alone, without the use of herbicides or fertilizers that accumulate.
- Raise livestock through pasturage alone.
- Restore only standing residences.
- Implement the organisational plan for the municipalities of Dayr Muqaran and Al-Fijeh following its amendment per the requirements of the reserve mentioned in Article 5 of this law, such that it makes allowance for alternative facilities in an area of the organisational plan located outside of the boundaries of the Direct and Indirect Reserves.
- Residential facilities that were permitted before the promulgation of this law in the Indirect Reserve can remain in place so long as they are furnished with a mixed “pipe within pipe” sanitation network and fuel tanks with mixed walls, at the expense of those with a relationship to the property. In the case that the owners of these facilities do not respond within six months from the date on which they are informed of the requested procedures, the Establishment is to direct the Governorate of Rural Damascus to tear down such facilities at their owners’ expense.
The Establishment is the public agency that holds authority over the Fijeh Springs reserve and the two aqueducts that extend from the springs. It has the authority to administer and represent them.
- Anyone who violates the provisions of Article 5 of this law is to be punished with between one and three years in prison and a fine of 500,000 Syrian pounds.
- Anyone who violates the provisions of Article 7 of this law is to be punished with between one and three years in prison and a fine of 500,000 Syrian pounds.
- The Minister is to promulgate a decision in which he will name the employees charged with the investigation and prevention of the violations enumerated in Articles 5 and 7 of this law. They will have law enforcement status. Before they begin their work, it is incumbent upon them to legally swear before the judge of the Civilian Court of First Instance in the Governorate of Damascus.
- It is incumbent upon the employees with law enforcement status, upon the organisation of the guard, to prevent infringements, and to seize the means and instruments by which infringements are committed, per the relevant systems.
- Without obviating the strongest stipulated punishments in the other laws, law enforcement employees who facilitate, cover up, or neglect to prevent violations are to be punished by those punishments stipulated in Article 9 of this law. The same applies to employees of all state public bodies who issue orders or instructions without a legal basis that lead to damage of the Fijeh Springs water system.
It is incumbent upon the directors and presidents of the police departments, the directors of the districts, and the captains of Interior Ministry police stations to provide support to law enforcement in preventing violations.
The Establishment is to remove construction violations at the violating party’s expense per the provisions of Articles 9 and 10 of this law.
The Minister is to promulgate executive instructions for the implementation of this law.
Action per Law 10/1989 is to be cancelled.
This law is to be published in the Official Gazette.
Damascus, 01/05/1439 Hijri., 18/01/2018 Gregorian
President of the Republic