Syrian government supporters over take forcibly displaced people’s homes in Homs
Russia and the civil and military committees in Northern Homs, Central Syria, reached an agreement to displace people who refuse to reconcile with the Syrian government to Northern Syria. At the same time, Russia undertook to preserve the lives of people, who decided to remain in the area and prevent the Syrian government forces from arresting them. However, the Syrian government used all pretexts to arrest its opponents. When the Syrian Revolution began in 2011, Homs revolted against the Syrian government. At that time, the Syrian government forces committed horrible massacres against the demonstrators and residents of the neighborhoods of Baba Amro, al-Bayada, al-Inshaat, al-Khalidiyah, Karm al-Zaytoon, and al-Qusoor, as well as neighborhoods of ancient Homs, where the majority of residents are Sunni Muslim. Syrian government supporters from Shiite and Alawite majority neighborhoods participated in the massacres.
One of the most prominent massacres that took place was in the neighborhood of Karm al-Zaytoon on March 12, 2012. Activists estimate that the Syrian government and sectarian militias killed 45 civilians. The Syrian government forces and sectarian militias also committed other massacres, killing hundreds of civilians using artillery shelling. The massacres forced thousands of residents of the neighborhoods, who revolted against the Syrian government to leave their homes fearing for their lives.
Syrian government supporters seize forcibly displaced people’s homes
SMART talked to three FDP from the city of Homs to the Homs Northern countryside. The FDP attempted to return to their houses in the neighborhoods of Homs. However, the FDP were surprised to realize that pro-Syrian government families live in their houses.
The FDP added that Shiite and Alawite supporters of Syrian government seized the FDP's houses and began renting some of them out while taking up residence in others.
The FDP noted that the Syrian government showed no interest in preserving the FDP’s property in those neighborhoods.
An FDP, who introduced himself as Abu Suleiman, reported that he attempted to return to his house in the neighborhood of Karm al-Zaytoon. Abu Suleiman added that he was surprised to realize that his house was inhabited by a family from the village of al-’Amiriya, where the majority of the population is Alawite.
Abu Suleiman added, “The Syrian government displaced me from my house to the Northern Homs countryside due to the sectarian war that the Syrian government waged in Homs (...) After the reconciliation took place in the Northern Homs countryside, I went back to my house, but the inhabitants refused to evacuate and threatened to kill me.”
Abu Suleiman noted that after he was threatened, he requested to restore his home in the Homs Governorate Council of the Syrian government. He was forced to sign his application from several security branches and pay bribes amounting to 350 thousand Syrian pounds (700 US dollars) until he was able to obtain approval to restore his home after more than four months.
Abu Suleiman added, ”After I got permission, a Syrian government forces patrol evacuated the inhabitants of my house (...), but I still fear for my life because of the death threats I received.”
Forcibly displaced people are unable to reclaim their houses
A forcibly displaced person, who introduced himself as Abu Ahmad, was unable to reclaim his house fearing for his life.
Abu Ahmad reported that he attempted to return to his house in the city of Homs, but he found Alawite Shabiha members residing in his house. Abu Ahmad added that when he demanded the Shabiha members evacuate his house, they answered that they bought the house and that they would not leave it.
Abu Ahmad added, “The Shabiha members threatened to kill or arrest me (...) they can easily fake a personal charge against me. (...) so I returned to my rented house in Northern Homs, fearing for my life.”
Another FDP and Syrian government employee, who introduced himself as Abu Azam, said that a Shiite family from the towns of Kafarya and al-Fou’a in Idlib live in his house in the neighborhood of al-Bayada. Abu Azam added, “After the reconciliation with the Syrian government took place, I attempted to return to my house, but the family refused to evacuate it (...) The family threatened me and told me to forget about my house.”
Abu Azam added that he did not submit a complaint to the Syrian government security branches fearing arrest. Abu Azam noted, “ If the Syrian government arrests me and stops paying me, my family and I would live under deplorable and tragic financial conditions.”
Earlier, SMART spotted the encroachment of the loyalist Lebanese Hezbollah militia on the residents of Aqraba, Eastern Damascus. The Hezbollah militia blackmailed the residents preventing them from restoring their homes the Hezbollah militia seized unless the residents agreed to pay a large sum of money and submit to bribes.