Having lost hope to return | Displaced families from Homs sell their properties at half price
Several families who have been displaced from Homs city to north Syria region started to sell their properties, including houses and stores, via brokers and relatives in the regime-controlled city of Homs, as they have lost hope to return to their areas again. The reasons behind selling those properties in Homs city are manifested in displaced people concerns about seizure of their properties by the Syrian regime, as well as their need of money, especially since they have been struggling with dreadful living conditions since they were displaced years ago.
Speaking to SOHR, a displaced young man known by his initials as M. Q. from Al-Khalidiyah neighbourhood in Homs city and now living in north Syria region says that he has a house in the centre of Al-Bayyadah neighbourhood in Homs, which is worth 20,000 USD. However, he is ready to sell it for 7,000 USD. According to the young man, properties in Homs city are sold through brokers in the city, after obtaining permits from regime officers who take a share of the money paid for every unit of real estate.
Another displaced man from Homs city known as A. R. has told SOHR that he has a house and a store in Al-Bayyadah neighbourhood in Homs, and that he has offered them for sale for 10,000 USD, because of threats by regime forces to take over the house and the store, although the value of these properties approximates 35,000 USD.
It is worth noting that displaced people in north Syria region are struggling with dire living conditions in light of the high rental fees of houses, lack of humanitarian support provided to refugee camps’ inhabitants, prohibitively high prices of basic products and lack of job opportunities; this, in turn, has spurred displaced families to sell their properties in areas from which they had been displaced, so that they can secure their livelihood.
Since mid 2014, Homs neighbourhoods have experienced campaigns for forcing civilians and militiamen to displace, where regime forces forced the fighters of opposition factions and their families from neighbourhoods in old Homs to cities and towns in the northern countryside of Homs, before reaching a Russian-sponsored agreement between regime forces and opposition factions in May 2018. According to this deal, fighters who refused to strike reconciliation deals with the regime’s intelligence services were evacuated to north Syria region.