المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

ID documents, a new crisis added to a series of endless crises hitting citizens of the Syrian north

The crisis of ID documents is one of the most complex crisis in the Syrian north, where the issue is getting more complicated day after day because the civil institutions in the Syrian north are not receiving external recognition; in order to register official transactions such as marriage, divorce and other transactions, and this issue has become a dilemma for the civilians in the areas that are controlled by the Syrian regime in the north, in light of the urgent need for such transactions after the great increase in population of Syrian north, after the forced displacement operations that took place against inhabitants of the southern provinces and displacing them to the Syrian north, and on the other side, the civil institutions concerned in registering such transactions -which in turn belong to the Rescue and Interim Governments- do not have much trust among the civilians, as they are perceived as unrecognized institutions, so much that a large proportion of the university students do not continue their education because of this reason, and many civilians do their papers and their own transactions in institutions of the Syrian regime; through mediators who carry out these tasks in exchange for a sum of money, depending on the required document and its importance.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights spoke to a lawyer from Sahl al-Ghab area at the western countryside of Hama, about the problem of registering ID documents and marriage contracts, and the difficulty of doing so in areas of the Syrian north, where he said: “the problem of identification papers is one of the problems that carries a lot of trouble for civilians of the Syrian north, in particular, areas of Idlib and its countryside, which are currently under the control of the Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham faction and its civilian wing called the Rescue Government, where  the issue of registering marriage contracts is considered to be one of the most prominent obstacles in the area, in addition to what results of it such as proofing descent of children, in addition to registering a divorce and getting the women their rights and many other things related to divorce, and of course, all of this is happening due to the absence of the usual official government centers, and due to the chaos created by Syrian events since the beginning, in addition to the fact that the area is being controlled by more than one party, which made the existence of internationally recognized official institutions in this area extremely difficult, it may be impossible as well, and we do not know how long this dilemma will last, where there are no official figures regarding the number of people who do not have ID documents, undocumented marriages, or even the number of children who are not registered in the personal registration department. We need radical solutions, perhaps, in changing the authorities in the area and handing this matter to civilian parties that have more welcome and internationally recognition, and establishing institutions specialized in ID documents and keeping them away of the underway battlefield, completely keeping them away of any military or political developments, and giving them international trust to play their role effectively in this regard.”

In his testimony to the Syrian Observatory, a resident from Jabal Shahshabu area in the western countryside of Hama, said that he is unable to obtain the official documents and the rights of his children in being registered in records of the Department of Personal affairs, adding:  “I am 37 years old and married since 2007. I have a family of 6 children and 3 of whom were born during the period of the Syrian events and they are aged between 7 and 3 years, und until now they are not yet registered in the Department of Personal affair, and although there are local councils and institutions concerned in this, I do not prefer to register them in this unclear way, as these institutions are recognized only in specific areas of the Syrian north, not to mention the international recognition. And the dilemma of obtaining official documents at the family level is particularly evident when the birth dates and names of the children needed to be registered, as they are very important for them to access their civil rights and most importantly, their right to attend school at the specified age.”

The opinions are divided among civilians of the Syrian north, between those who refuse to register their marriage, children, or even to issue any identification paper from records of the Syrian regime, considering it to be as a recognition of the “Syrian regime”, and between those who consider this a necessity due to the absence of the role of official institutions and their inability to fil in the gap mad by years of the Syrian war.

While the question remains about the future of the areas that are not controlled by the Syrian regime in Syrian north, and when will the parties concerned with the Syrian file assume their responsibilities on this issue?”

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