Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad issued Law No. 25 on November 28, 2023, which amends the General Mobilisation Law, originally issued by Legislative Decree No. 104 in 2011. Law No. 25 clarifies that the concept of general mobilisation involves utilising the country’s human and material resources, especially military resources, to serve the defence efforts of the nation’s sovereignty in times of war and in cases of internal and external threats and disasters.
The essence of a mobilisation law is to empower the executive authority with the capabilities to conscript individual properties and restrict freedoms for the purpose of general mobilisation. Law No. 25 does not specify any form of oversight for potential violations and infringements upon individual properties.
Under the new law, properties can be forcibly seized for mobilisation purposes. For instance, owners of large vehicles can be compelled to transport weapons and ammunition to military bases, or private buildings can be seized and converted into military headquarters. In this sense, the mobilisation law aligns with the principles of the 1962 Emergency Law, repealed in 2011, which granted martial law authorities the power to seize movable and immovable properties, impose temporary guardianship on companies and institutions, and defer debts and obligations due upon seizure.
Law No. 25 grants executive and local administrative bodies the authority to requisition buildings, facilities and lands, placing them at disposal according to mobilisation plans. The new law also increases the obligations of institutions and companies during mobilisation, requiring them to allocate buildings, facilities and lands as per mobilisation plans.
The new law retains the provisions of the old General Mobilisation Law No. 104 of 2011, which obligates individuals to offer their real and personal properties as needed for mobilisation activities. The law preserves the right of these individuals to receive fair compensation in accordance with laws and regulations. As per Law No. 25 of 2023, the rental fees for real estate and commercial premises are set not to exceed the current market price, plus the costs of maintaining buildings and facilities if they are damaged due to use in mobilisation.
There has been no change in the mechanism for determining the fees for real estate and buildings, which is led by appraisal committees formed by the Prime Minister and includes experts from relevant ministries (the law does not specify which ministries). Owners of properties requisitioned for mobilisation can object to the committee’s decisions regarding the determined fees. Objections must be registered with a special reconsideration committee for reviewing fee values within seven days of being notified of the appraisal committee’s decision. However, lodging an objection does not halt the implementation of the general mobilisation decision.
The reconsideration committee is formed by a decision of the Minister of Defence and includes a judge nominated by the Ministry of Justice, a representative from the General Administration in the Ministry of Defence, and a delegate from the ministry concerned with the materials subject to mobilisation. Decisions of this committee on appeals are final.
Notably, the formation of the reconsideration committee by the Minister of Defence affects its credibility, as this ministry has an interest in the mobilisation activities and is not a neutral party.
Under Decree No. 104, the General Mobilisation Law imposed a prison sentence ranging from three months to two years for anyone who violates the provisions of mobilisation preparation or refuses to comply with requests made. Military courts have jurisdiction over all crimes included in the General Mobilisation Law according to Article 40 of the law.