Syrian Law- Recent Legislation

In this section, we aim to keep you updated with current developments by supplying details on the latest noteworthy laws that have been passed since early 2013. While the SLJ features all the main laws that are presently in force dating back several decades, it is nonetheless worthwhile to keep readers regularly informed of recently enacted legislation on a daily, weekly or monthly basis whenever possible. The latest ones can be found towards the top of this page. In order for us to keep you notified of new updates in this section, please click here.

 

State Employment Disbursement Law

Legislative Decree 25/2020
  • Authorizes a disbursement of a one-time grant amounting to SYP 50,000 to civil servants and military personnel, which is exempt from applicable taxes, as well as SYP 40,000 to pensioners, which is also exempt from tax.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 21, 2020

Payroll Tax Law

Legislative Decree 24/2020
  • Amends Articles 68 and 69 of the Income Tax Law 24/2003 so that the minimum tax-exempt limit on salaries and wages is amended to SYP 50,000 instead of SYP 15,000.
  • Each progressive tax bracket is increased by SYP 30,000 and a two percent tax rate.
  • Tax rates now begin at four percent and go up to a maximum of 18% instead of five percent up to 22%.
  • Taxes on salaries and wages are therefore reduced accordingly.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 21, 2020

Agricultural Loans Law

Legislative Decree 23/2020
  • Exempts from interest and penalties loans previously granted by the state-owned Agricultural Cooperative Bank to persons affected by the fires that erupted in the provinces of Homs, Tartous, Lattakia and Hama.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 20, 2020

National Reconciliation Commission Law

Legislative Decree 22/2020
  • The People’s Assembly gave its backing to Legislative Decree 22/2020, which revokes Legislative Decree 19/2018 and consequently dismantles the National Reconciliation Commission established first as a ministry during the height of the Syrian War in 2012.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 22, 2020

Pharmaceutical Imports Law

Legislative Decree 14/2020
  • Exempts the importation of raw materials utilized for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products from customs duties, taxes and other fees for a period of one year starting at the beginning of August.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 13, 2020

Tax Deferment Law

Legislative Decree 12/2020
  • Extends all legal deadlines included in tax legislation taking into consideration the preventative measures adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 starting on March 22, 2020.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 31, 2020

Private Universities and Educational Institutions Allowances Law

Legislative Decree 11/2020
  • Increases the annual allowances granted by private universities and educational institutions to the families of martyred, wounded and missing personnel from the military and security forces.
  • The Law provides that no less than two percent of the number of places in each college or institute within private universities and educational institutions be allocated to students from the aforementioned categories.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 17, 2020

Imports Exemptions Law

Legislative Decree 10/2020
  • Exempts raw materials imported for local industries and subjected to a customs duty of one percent as per the schedule issued by Resolution 377/2014 from the duty itself and other taxes and fees for a period of one year.
  • Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance issued a resolution containing the executive regulations of Legislative Decree 10/2020.
  • It remains to be seen whether manufacturers will pass down the lower production costs along the supply chains to consumers. There will be concern that some industrialists or merchants may attempt to increase their profit margins by maintaining prices at their current rates.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 13, 2020

Chambers of Commerce Law

Law 8/2020
  • Membership in a chamber of commerce is a prerequisite to importing goods into Syria.
  • Merchants urged the People’s Assembly during deliberations on this Law to stop conditioning membership in the chambers on hiring employees and registering them with the General Establishment for Social Security since some merchants, especially those who work in retail industries, do not require employees and rather rely on family members so they regard this rule as burdensome as they seek to maintain membership in the chambers. Elections to the Chambers of Commerce were delayed due to this rule, which caused confusion. There were concerns that membership numbers would start to dwindle and the chambers would lose lobbying influence in the years to come if this rule remains in force.
  • Other objections by merchants concerned taxes and fees, social security and oversight by the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection.
  • There was criticism at a provision that requires a public official from the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection to attend formal meetings to validate quorums.
  • MPs were adamant that the Chambers of Commerce Bill respects Article 10 of the Constitution which guarantees the independence of professional unions.
  • The Law grants eligibility to many more members to sit on the boards of directors of the various chambers while the power to dissolve the latter is transferred from the Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection to the Prime Minister.
  • Merchants debated whether provision should be made in the Law requiring board members of the chambers of commerce to have acquired educational certificates or whether market experience so to speak is sufficient enough.
  • There was much debate and disagreement among MPs within the People’s Assembly about whether they should refer Article 47 of the Chambers of Commerce Bill back to its respective committee for review as it touches on the powers of the boards.
  • Controversy over this Law continued in the People’s Assembly as MPs voiced positions on its procedural aspects and its merits in general, even including exchanges involving the Speaker of the People’s Assembly. Some articles, though amended, were approved.
  • Replaces Law 131/1959.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 11, 2020
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 20, 2020

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 6/2020
  • Grants a general amnesty for crimes committed before March 22, 2020.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 23, 2020

Honor Killings Law – Criminal Code (Amendment)

Law 2/2020
  • President Bashar Al-Assad referred a bill abolishing honor killings to the People’s Assembly on International Women’s Day, which in turn submitted it to its Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee for consideration.
  • MPs approved the bill, which repeals Article 548 of the Criminal Code and therefore abolishes legal recognition of honor killings.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 12, 2020
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 17, 2020

Military and Security Personnel Payments Law

Legislative Decree 5/2020
  • Grants an additional SYP 20,000 per month to the families of martyrs, missing persons and wounded personnel from the military and security forces.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 1, 2020

Bakeries Law

Legislative Decree 6/2020
  • Sets up the Syrian Establishment for Bakeries with a capital of SYP 5 billion to replace the General Corporation for Bakeries and the Reserve Bakery Committee.
  • It will possess financial and administrative independence.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 14, 2020

Currency Defamation Law – Criminal Code (Amendment)

Legislative Decree 4/2020
  • Amends Article 309 of the Criminal Code provided for in Legislative Decree 148/1949.
  • Accordingly, the penalty for broadcasting or publishing fabrications or false allegations that cause the Syrian Pound to depreciate or to become unstable is tightened.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 18, 2020

Currency Transaction Law

Legislative Decree 3/2020
  • Amends Article 2 of Legislative Decree 54/2013.
  • Accordingly, the penalty for transacting in any currency other than the Syrian Pound has been increased to a minimum of seven years’ imprisonment with hard labor.
  • A fine shall be imposed on violators equal to twice the amount that is the subject of the transaction in addition to confiscatory measures.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 18, 2019

Loan Repayments Law

Legislative Decree 29/2019
  • Extends the provisions of Article 5 of Law 46/2018 regarding the exemption of loans granted to borrowers of the state-owned Agricultural Cooperative Bank from interest and penalty payments for delays in repaying back their debt obligations.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 24, 2019

Housing Law

Law 37/2019
  • Dissolves the General Federation of Housing Cooperatives and its branches throughout the provinces.
  • The actual housing cooperatives will continue to exist under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
  • Previously, MPs in the People’s Assembly referred the bill sanctioning the dissolution of the General Federation to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for its input to ensure its provisions comply with the Constitution.
  • The bill was then sent back to MPs for a further submission to the Local Administration and Urban Development Committee for review before it was presented to MPs for a final vote.
  • The General Federation cautioned that the bill liquidating it risked being deemed unconstitutional due to fears of unfair expropriation and further warned that the assets of cooperatives do not legally pass to the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
  • Moreover, some MPs in the People’s Assembly criticized the bill to dissolve the 58-year old body as unconvincing and unconstitutional while instead calling for its reform.
  • Syria has approximately 2,500 housing cooperatives operating under the umbrella of the General Federation with nearly a membership of 1 million subscribers.
  • Accordingly, only the General Federation and its branches in the provinces were dissolved while the cooperatives will continue to exist under the oversight of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 18, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 24, 2019

Council of State Administrative Law

Law 32/2019
  • Governs the Council of State Administrative Court.
  • The Law was approved for a second time by the People’s Assembly following its unprecedented referral to the Supreme Constitutional Court by President Al-Assad following concerns that some of its provisions were unconstitutional though the situation was rectified accordingly.
  • The role of the Council of State is to pass judgments in administrative cases involving the state and to serve as an advisory body to public entities.
  • The Council of State consists of two divisions – the Judicial Division and the Advisory Division.
  • The Council of State Administrative Court is the judicial body concerned with resolving disputes where one of the parties to the lawsuit is a governmental or public sector entity.
  • The Law grants the Council of State the status of an independent judicial body with its own budget free from the oversight of the Council of Ministers and the executive branch, which has been the case for 60 years.
  • It is also granted independence in its operations similar in nature to that of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
  • In addition to its judicial capacity, the Council of State also possesses an advisory function and issues legal opinions to ministries and government departments on aspects of the law where appropriate.
  • New bodies were also established in the Council of State including the Department for the Unification of Principles, the Inspection Department, the Disciplinary Board and the General Assembly of the Supreme Administrative Court.
  • The General Assembly of the Supreme Administrative Court is comprised of its senior judges to validate judicial precedents from cases.
  • There is now also a body entrusted with preparing and pleading cases in cooperation with public authorities.
  • The new Law makes provision for disciplinary courts which were previously governed by a separate law issued in 1990.
  • The powers of the Council of State have also been expanded, such as by becoming specialized in contractual disputes agreed by popular organizations and professional syndicates if they are concluded in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Law.
  • The Council of State will also become more concerned with disputes involving taxes and fees.
  • The Law indicates that it is permissible to refer to the Civil Procedure Code if there is no applicable provision contained in the Council of State Administrative Law, which was already previously the case. The same principle applies to the Civil Service Code and the Judiciary Law.
  • The Law stipulates the conditions for filing lawsuits to set aside arbitration awards involving a governmental or public sector disputant by adopting similar provisions from the Arbitration Law 4/2008, which is applicable to contacting parties in the private sector.
  • Accordingly, arbitral awards that have not yet reached the stage of being deemed final and executory may be appealed on procedural grounds before the Supreme Administrative Court, the highest court in the Council of State.
  • In any case, the Administrative Courts in the Council of State are competent and capable of ensuring the enforcement of arbitral awards.
  • The Law also provides that in the event arbitral awards are to be appealed, they can only be challenged on the grounds of procedural irregularities and not substantive issues as well, which was previously the case.
  • Arbitration proceedings involving foreign contractors that are not undertaken in the Council of State but rather before international arbitral institutions following the concerned minister’s approval no longer require the additional consent of the Council of State. Arbitral awards of this nature were subjected to nullification orders on the basis that the consent of the Council of State was not obtained accordingly.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 14, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 16, 2019

Telecommunications Subscribers Law

Law 31/2019
  • Exempts subscribers who defaulted on their bills to the Syrian Telecommunications Corporation from interest payments if they satisfy their debt obligations.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 8, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 16, 2019

Oil Refineries and Services Laws

Laws 28/2019, 29/2019 and 30/2019
  • Provide for the establishment of two new oil refineries to be built according to a public-private partnership model.
  • Provide for the incorporation of the Rusafa Refinery Company and the Al-Sahel Refinery Company.
  • The incorporation of the companies also follows the ratification of an oil services contract between the public and private sectors.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 8, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 12, 2019

Higher Education Law

Law 27/2019
  • Replaces the current Ministry of Higher Education with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
  • The new Ministry shall enjoy legal personality along with financial and administrative independence.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 27, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 3, 2019

National Budget Law

Law 25/2019
  • Ratifies the national budget for 2020 estimated at SYP 4 trillion, with SYP 2.7 trillion allocated for expenditures and SYP 1.3 trillion for investments.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 26, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 28, 2019

Public Sector Pensions Law

Legislative Decree 24/2019
  • Increases pensions for retired public sector personnel by SYP 16,000.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 21, 2019

Public Sector Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 23/2019
  • Increase the salaries of civilian and military public sector employees by SYP 20,000.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 21, 2019

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 20/2019
  • Grants an amnesty for certain crimes committed before September 14th and pardoning Army dodgers if they report for duty within three to six months.
  • The amnesty does not cover conspiracies against the state, drugs and arms offences.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 14, 2019

Military and Security Personnel Pension Law

Legislative Decree 18/2019
  • Amends pension legislation pertaining to the provision of health benefits to personnel in the Syrian Arab Army and the Internal Security Forces.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 28, 2019

Scientific Mission Academics Law

Legislative Decree 17/2019
  • Grants academics who were dispatched abroad in accordance with the Scientific Missions Law a period of one year to convert their degrees in Syria provided they obtained their qualifications after March 15, 2011.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 8, 2019

Military Service and Security Personnel Law

Legislative Decree 15/2019
  • Adds two articles to the Military Service Law, whose provisions shall also apply to personnel in the Internal Security Forces, which provide a comprehensive definition of soldiers and officers who are missing in action or were martyred during the war.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 31, 2019

Honor Card Law

Legislative Decree 13/2019
  • Grants an honor card to injured Army and security personnel to be used to benefit from medical, educational and financial services.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 14, 2019

Military Service Law

Legislative Decree 12/2019
  • Amends Articles 10, 95 and 113 of the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007.
  • Further regulates the circumstances for the postponement of compulsory military service obligations.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 14, 2019

Civil Status Law

Legislative Decree 11/2019
  • Exempts Syrian citizens who delayed in registering their civil status or who failed to obtain official documents and cards on time from fees and fines if their delay is due to their presence in a conflict zone or because they had to flee.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 2, 2019

Building Permits Law

Legislative Decree 9/2019
  • Legislative Decree 9/2019 provides exemptions from building permit fees for the families of martyrs and wounded personnel from the Syrian Arab Army and the Internal Security Forces once they apply to build, repair or renovate their homes.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 2, 2019

Syrian Exporters Federation Law

Law 19/2019
  • Dissolves the Syrian Exporters Federation, which was formed pursuant to Law 27/2009, on the pretext that it is no longer fit for purpose and due to the absence of a similar body in other jurisdictions.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 25, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 27, 2019

Patent Law (Amendment)

Law 17/2019
  • Authorizes the Patent Office in Syria to provide inventors who have not paid their patent fees since the beginning of 2011 a grace period of three months in which to settle them, starting from June 17, 2019.
  • With respect to inventors who did not utilize their patents within the three-year mandatory period following their issuance as stated in the Patent Law, the Patent Office is providing a grace period of one year from June 17, 2019 to do so.
  • Although the inventor does not have to personally utilize his or her patent, they can license the right to do so to another party within the three-year mandatory period or submit a nominal working, which evidences that they have at least advertised the right of use of the patent.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 11, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 17, 2019

Engineering Studies Corporation Law

Law 12/2019
  • Provides for setting up the Engineering Studies Corporation in Damascus to replace two other entities with similar functions.
  • Provides for the incorporation of a state-owned legal entity with financial and administrative independence that is linked to the Minister of Public Works and Housing.
  • It will have the capacity to establish branches throughout the provinces.
  • Its share capital is specified at SYP 1.45 billion, which is comprised of funds and fixed assets obtained from its two predecessors.
  • The company will specialize in studies and consultations in the fields of construction and public works with respect to projects in the public and the joint public-private sectors.
  • Consolidation of various entities in the public sector has been a common feature in recent years.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on May 16, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 22, 2019

Grains Law

Law 11/2019
  • Sets up the General Establishment for Grain Trading, Storing and Manufacturing.
  • The entity shall enjoy financial and administrative independence and will be headquartered in the city of Hassakeh.
  • The decision to headquarter the establishment in the city of Hassakeh as opposed to Damascus, which is usually the norm in such cases, may be a move to appease the Kurdish community in Hassakeh.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 19, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 22, 2019

Begging Law

Law 8/2019
  • Amends provisions of the Criminal Code to strengthen penalties surrounding unjustified forms of begging, a phenomenon that has grown in size during the conflict.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 27, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 3, 2019

Medical Professionals Law

Law 7/2019
  • Grants members of the medical profession an additional year to settle their status and comply with the applicable requirements provided for in Article 3 of Legislative Decree 9/2015.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 27, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 3, 2019

ISF Pensions Law

Legislative Decree 4/2019
  • Raises pension payments to the parents of martyred officers in the Internal Security Forces (one or both of them) so that they are equal to the pension payments paid to the parents of martyred soldiers in the Syrian Arab Army.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 31, 2019

Personal Status Law

Law 4/2019
  • Amends the Personal Status Law and grants women a priority status when dealing with matters concerning the family and children thereby improving the legal position of women.
  • Mandates the minimum age of marriage for both men and women at 18 years.
  • Allows a wife-to-be to stipulate her right to work in the marital contract.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 5, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 7, 2019

Social Security Exemption Law

Law 1/2019
  • Exempts employers registered with the General Establishment for Social Security from interest payments and fines for not settling their accounts within the prescribed time period.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on January 24, 2019
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 29, 2019

Agricultural Loans Law

Law 46/2018
  • Seeks to reschedule loan repayments by debtors to the state-owned Agricultural Cooperative Bank as well as a cancellation of fines and interest payments for failing to adhere to deadlines.
  • Aims to assist farmers with their financial situations.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 20, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 26, 2018

Military Pilots Law

Legislative Decree 20/2018
  • Raises the salaries of pilots employed by the Armed Forces as well as the allowances extended to military personnel.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 23, 2018

Military Personnel Provisions Law

Law 45/2018
  • Grants injured military personnel the right to procure one locally-manufactured automobile, which will be exempted from all taxes and fees, through loan facilities extended by the Commercial Bank of Syria.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 17, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 18, 2018

National Budget Law

Law 44/2018
  • Ratifies the 2019 national budget worth SYP 3.9 trillion with 70% going towards public expenditure and 30% to cover investments.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 4, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 6, 2018

Urban Renewal Law

Law 42/2018
  • The People’s Assembly discussed amendments to the Urban Renewal Law 10/2018 that were later voted upon and became Law 42/2018.
  • The new provisions give landowners one year to prove their ownership of land located in an area designated for redevelopment where such ownership rights have not been recorded in the Land Registry.
  • The time limit was originally 30 days when the Law was first issued back in April and caused considerable controversy.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 6, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 11, 2018

Judiciary Law

Law 38/2018
  • Prescribes that the Supreme Judicial Council shall in exceptional circumstances consider certain cases at the request of the Minister of Justice when they cannot be heard by a competent court.
  • The Law was passed subject to Articles 499-501 of the Civil Procedure Code provided for in Law 1/2016.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 22, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 28, 2018

Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Law

Law 37/2018
  • Amends the functions and competences of the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection to grant it the powers to address the current economic realities in the Syrian marketplaces that have arisen after almost eight years of war.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 21, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 24, 2018

Treaty with Abkhazia Law

Law 36/2018
  • Ratifies a treaty with the Republic of Abkhazia.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 11, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 15, 2018

Maritime Code

Law 35/2018
  • Contains amendments to the Maritime Code provided for by Law 28/2003.
  • They touch on issues dealing with the territorial integrity of Syrian waters.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 11, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 15, 2018

Public Housing Law

Law 34/2018
  • Exempts public sector employees who subscribed to the employee housing scheme linked to the Public Housing Establishment from payment obligations stemming from the monthly installment schedules.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 11, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 15, 2018

Municipal Tax Exemption Law

Law 33/2018
  • Exempts municipal taxpayers from fines if they settle their debt obligations by March 31, 2019.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 9, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 13, 2018

Awqaf Law

Law 31/2018
  • Contains the new provisions governing the powers and functions of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, known in Arabic as Awqaf.
  • Significantly enhances the authorities of the Ministry despite the public outcry over the move.
  • In an unprecedented move not seen before, the People’s Assembly rejected Legislative Decree 16/2018 issued by President Bashar Al-Assad in its current form as MPs voted to impose a range of amendments that would curb any new powers enjoyed by the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Such activity on this scale has not been witnessed in Syria’s Parliament since the early 1960s and it certainly is an unprecedented move to challenge a law issued by the President. It will be very difficult for its detractors to now characterize it as a rubber stamp legislature.
  • Consequently, President Bashar Al-Assad ratified the new Law 31/2018 governing the Ministry of Religious Endowments. By doing so, he accepted the first ever challenge of a Syrian parliament to a law issued by a president since the 1960s – in this case by repealing Legislative Decree 16/2018.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 10, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 11, 2018

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 18/2018
  • Grants a general amnesty to soldiers of the Army and the Armed Forces who deserted their posts and have avoided mandatory military service.
  • The general amnesty includes soldiers located inside Syria or overseas. The passage of this Law could hasten and facilitate the return of a number of Syrian refugees living outside the country to Syria.
  • The general amnesty does not apply to fugitives on the run from the law unless they turn themselves in to the authorities within four months for those located inside Syria and within six months for those based overseas.
  • The general amnesty also covers soldiers who contravened provisions contained in the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007 and its amendments.
  • The amnesty covers soldiers who contravened provisions contained in the Martial Criminal Code provided for in Legislative Decree 61/1950 and its amendments before October 9, 2018.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 9, 2018

Military Service Law

Legislative Decree 14/2018
  • Amends Article 48 of the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007 to exclude persons exempt from military service from the requirement to obtain travel clearance from the Military Service Department upon exiting Syrian territory.
  • Therefore, for males aged 17-42 years who are not exempt from military service and wishing to travel outside Syria, travel clearance is granted after depositing SYP 50,000 in a public bank as a guarantee.
  • Travel clearance is renewed every three months but the deposit is only paid once.
  • The important point to note is that these measures are about travel permission and not a conscription order. It is to make sure that those persons legally required to undertake military service do so.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 6, 2018

Social Security Exemption Law

Law 26/2018
  • Extends the Social Security Exemption Law 4/2016 for a further year.
  • According to this Law, businessmen and employers registered with the General Establishment for Social Security are exempt from making penalty and interest payments if they pay their dues within a year.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 27, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 4, 2018

Customary Marriages Law

Law 24/2018
  • Before its enactment, the bill was presented to the People’s Assembly that would amend provisions of the Criminal Code to make it an offence punishable by imprisonment for any couple that weds through a customary marriage. However, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in the People’s Assembly deemed the punishment of imprisonment too harsh and amended the bill so that it provides for a fine instead.
  • The Law was issued because there have been numerous instances of people being abused through marital procedures during the conflict. Moreover, there has been an increase in customary marriages in Syria since the war broke out for a variety of reasons, one of which is an absence of government control in parts of the country.
  • Marriages in Syria are legally conducted according to the personal status laws of the individuals concerned. Accordingly, Muslims conclude what is known as the Sheikh’s Book Ceremony and then register the marital contract in the Sharia Court. Christians conduct a Church Ceremony and then register the marital contract in the Spiritual Court for the relevant denomination.
  • A customary marriage takes place when the relevant ceremonies are conducted but there is no registration of the marital contracts in the courts. When this happens, a marriage is not legally valid as far as the state is concerned. As such, there are no legally imposed obligations on the husband, which can have broad consequences if a child is born or the marriage breaks down. As far as the state is concerned, the marriage was never legally valid.
  • One rationale behind the passage of this Law was to help protect the rights of women who were placed in vulnerable positions following a breakdown in their customary marriage.
  • Before its enactment, the bill drew considerable criticism, particularly from MPs in the People’s Assembly. The objective of deterring customary marriages through the threat of imprisonment was deemed excessive by many observers given the current circumstances in the country especially as the bill was meant to help certain segments of society.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 10, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 24, 2018

Military Pensions Law

Legislative Decree 9/2018
  • Increases salaries to military personnel by 30%.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 4, 2018

Military Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 8/2018
  • Increases pension payments to retired military personnel by 20%.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 4, 2018

Passports Law

Law 19/2018
  • Amends Law 18/2017 and provides that Syrian citizens residing abroad can avail themselves of consular services such as passport renewals by paying the fee in US Dollars or its equivalent in Euros or in an approved local currency.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on May 23, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 29, 2018

Building Permit Exemption Law

Law 18/2018
  • Exempts industrialists and craftsmen from paying building permit renewal fees for a period of one year.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on May 21, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 27, 2018

Ministerial Ratification Law

Law 13/2018
  • Provides for an amendment to Law 19/2013 by raising the ceiling for concerned ministers to ratify public contracts to SYP 400 million for investments from SYP 200 million and SYP 150 million for expenditures from SYP 100 million.
  • The amendments come in light of fluctuations in the prices of materials and the exchange rate of the Syrian Pound.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 29, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 5, 2018

Urban Renewal Law

Law 10/2018
  • Provides that that one or more zoned areas may be established by decree on land subject to local planning regulations located throughout Syria’s provinces and local administrative districts based on a proposal from the Minister of Local Administration and the Environment.
  • It has the effect of extending the provisions of Legislative Decree 66/2012, which sanctioned the establishment of Marota City and Basilia City in the Governorate of Damascus, to all of Syria and empowering local authorities in the development of such projects.
  • Once a decree has been issued establishing a zoned area in pursuance of the Urban Renewal Law, the local council authority has one week to request from the competent authorities a list of all pre-existing owners who hold title to land located in the zoned area.
  • The competent authorities shall prepare the list of pre-existing owners within 45 days of receiving the request so that these pre-existing owners obtain shares in the land subjected to the new development.
  • The relevant local council shall within one month of the issuance of the decree provide notice via media outlets for any interested persons whose ownership interests are not recorded in the Land Registry to declare their interests in any land located within the zoned area or to have a relative or authorized representative make the declaration on their behalf.
  • The owners whose interests are not recorded in the Land Registry shall declare their interests within 30 days of such notice being published via the media outlets and shall submit all their relevant documents to prove their ownership.
  • The relevant local council shall establish one or more committees to survey the zoned area within one month of the issuance of the decree.
  • The zoned areas identified in a decree based on a proposal from the Minister of Local Administration and the Environment undergo a process whereby the land is initially zoned but for the purposes of giving pre-existing landowners shares in the zoned area. Consequently, the pre-existing landowners shall obtain shares in the zoned area and can no longer claim their original specific piece of land. The amount of shares they receive should be in proportion to their former landholding in the zoned area.
  • The Law does not permit expropriation of private property. Rather, it converts a proprietor’s land ownership into shares in the new development. That shareholding will correspond to an ownership in a specific plot of land in the new development.
  • A key provision of the Urban Renewal Law is that no person has to prove their property ownership until a new zoned development in which they originally owned land is established by decree and this requirement will only apply to persons whose ownership is not recorded in the Land Registry. Thus, the Law requires persons whose ownership interests are not recorded in the Land Registry to prove their ownership only once a zoned development has been established by a decree. The purpose of these procedures is to verify the persons with ownership interests in the lands subject to development but not recorded in the Land Registry so that they can be given shares in the plots of the new developments.
  • As for those persons whose ownership interests are recorded in the Land Registry, they do not have to undertake any action. Their ownership interests are already recorded and they will be provided with shares accordingly if the land in which they have ownership interests is subjected to a development project.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 19, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 2, 2018

Cybercrime Courts Law

Law 9/2018
  • Establishes specialized courts to try cybercrime cases.
  • Cybercrime is becoming a hot topic in Syria as the Minister of Justice joined judges in a session devoted to the subject.
  • A special unit in the judiciary to tackle cybercrime cases is currently being set up following the issuance of this Law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 18, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 25, 2018

Agricultural Engineering Profession Law

Law 8/2018
  • Sets down provisions to govern the agricultural engineering profession including the relevant syndicate responsible for regulating these types of engineers.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 5, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 25, 2018

Forestry Law

Law 6/2018
  • Imposes strict penalties on anyone found to have deliberately started wildfires.
  • The new Law seeks enhanced protections for the forested regions in Syria.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 6, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 4, 2018

Telecommunication Payments Exemption Law

Law 5/2018
  • Extends the provisions of Legislative Decree 17/2017 for another year.
  • Accordingly, debtors to the Syrian Telecommunications Company are exempted from interest and other payments if they settle their debts.
  • The Law applies to debtors who have subscribed to landline, telex, wireless devices and so forth.
  • Subscribers whose subscriptions were cancelled due to unpaid debts can restore them if they pay half their debts at least.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 22, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 4, 2018

Economic Criminal Code

Law 4/2018
  • Amends Article 15(d) of the Economic Criminal Code provided for in Law 3/2013, which aims to revoke the option for corrupt officials to avoid prosecution if they confess to their crimes before the case is referred to the courts.
  • Previously, corrupt officials had the opportunity to take their chances and abuse the system while hanging on to the possibility of immunity if they were caught as long as it was before they appeared in court.
  • Following the passage of the Economic Criminal Code, economic criminal courts were established in a move to strengthen a judicial specialization in this area of the law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 22, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 4, 2018

Debris Law

Law 3/2018
  • Provides for the removal of rubble and debris from buildings that were damaged, destroyed or subject to demolition.
  • The Law is undoubtedly a response to the destruction of buildings caused by the ongoing conflict.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on January 25, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 12, 2018

Consular Fees Law

Law 2/2018
  • Sets the new consular fees for services outside Syria.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on January 22, 2018
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 12, 2018

Ain Al-Fijeh Spring Law

Law 1/2018
  • Lays down the groundwork for rehabilitating the area around the Ain Al-Fijeh Spring in Rural Damascus.
  • It is the main source of water for the capital and faced substantial damage during the war.
  • It requires rehabilitation work worth SYP 5.5 billion.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 6, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 18, 2018

Temporary Employees Law

Legislative Decree 1/2018
  • Extends the mandate of the Temporary Employees Law provided for in Legislative Decree 4/2017 for one additional year.
  • Accordingly, a minister may provide permanent job positions to temporary employees on an annual contractual basis.
  • The Law applies to the families of martyrs, including their sons and daughters, and to those on youth contracts.
  • When Legislative Decree 4/2017 was issued last year, 40,000 temporary employees were expected to benefit from permanent employment under that Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 7, 2018

Reconstruction Tax Law

Law 46/2017
  • Amends both Article 1 of Law 13/2013 and Legislative Decree 3/2016, which increases the reconstruction tax on consumers from five percent to 10%.
  • The issue of doubling the reconstruction tax caused much controversy in the People’s Assembly as a big portion of MPs opposed it at first while eventually accepting it.
  • However, others vehemently challenged the measure on the grounds that it would further pressure people with limited incomes.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 7, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 20, 2017

Rural Service Law

Law 45/2017
  • Exempts doctors, dentists and pharmacists from performing mandatory services in rural areas.
  • The new Law made the necessary amendments to Article 4 of Law 8/2008.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 12, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 20, 2017

Physical Therapists Law

Law 44/2017
  • Amends Article 3 of Law 17/1980, on granting physical therapists employed in public hospitals, clinics and medical centres compensation with a maximum limit of 75% of their monthly wage.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 7, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 20, 2017

National Budget Law

Law 43/2017
  • Ratifies the 2018 national budget.
  • The national budget fixes the amount of government spending for 2018 at an estimated value of SYP 3.187 trillion.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 5, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 10, 2017

Landlord and Tenant Law

Law 42/2017
  • Extends the time period for landlords to evict political parties and public entities from their private properties to January 1, 2021 from January 1, 2018 as long as the landlords pay them 40% of the value of the leased premises.
  • The date originally was January 1, 2015.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 23, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 3, 2017

Veterinarians Syndicate Law

Law 41/2017
  • Contains the new Rules of Procedure for the Veterinarians Syndicate.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 23, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 3, 2017

Foreign Domestic Workers Law

Law 40/2017
  • Amends certain provisions of the Foreign Domestic Workers Law provided for in Legislative Decree 65/2013.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 22, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 3, 2017

Property Destruction Law

Law 39/2017
  • Exempts owners of real estate properties damaged by terrorist attacks during the current conflict from the need to pay building permit fees to carry out the required renovation works.
  • Owners must apply to their local authority to obtain this exemption and begin renovating within the year.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 21, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 28, 2017

Postal Law

Law 38/2017
  • Regulates the postal sector.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 20, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 28, 2017

Public Sector Employees Registry Law

Law 36/2017
  • Provides for the transfer of the Public Sector Employees Registry to the Ministry of Administrative Development from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour.
  • The number of Syrian public sector employees is estimated at around 2.2 million individuals.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 8, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 15, 2017

Military Service Law

Law 35/2017
  • Amends Articles 74 and 97 of the Military Service Law concerning the position of deserters.
  • Any person who exceeds the age for mandatory military service and did not fulfill it shall pay a fee of $8,000 (US) within three months of reaching the prescribed age.
  • Failure to pay the $8,000 deserter fee in full may result in imprisonment for a period of one year and a seizure of assets.
  • There will be a $200 penalty for each year of delay starting with the date the deadline is missed but the amount shall not exceed $2,000.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 8, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 15, 2017

Maritime Certificates Law

Law 34/2017
  • Regulates maritime certificates for seafarers.
  • Replaces Law 57/2001 as it is no longer compatible with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978. Syria acceded to the Convention in 2000.
  • Seeks to ensure more optimal compliance with the amendments to the Convention.
  • The Minister of Transport foresees greater amounts of revenues as a result of this new Law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 24, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 31, 2017

Real Estate Documents Law

Law 33/2017
  • In light of legislative reforms in anticipation of reconstruction, this Law gives legal effect to the status of real estate documents that were lost, stolen, or partially or totally damaged during the war.
  • Regulates the process of re-issuing the respective real estate documents.
  • Also provides for imprisonment for any person who steals or damages real estate documents.
  • The current Land Registry Law and its Executive Regulations do not address such circumstances where real estate documents are affected in this way.
  • In keeping with the provisions of the Constitution guaranteeing property rights to owners, the People’s Assembly passed this bill.
  • According to a judge in the Real Estate Court, 70% of property documents were lost, stolen or destroyed during the conflict.
  • The Law is expected to resolve 80% of problems associated with missing real estate documents, which will be reconstructed and given legal effect.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 23, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 26, 2017

Judicial Proceedings Transfer Law

Law 32/2017
  • Extends the provisions of Legislative Decree 28/2013 for another year.
  • Legislative Decree 28/2013 permits the Supreme Judicial Council to transfer lawsuit proceedings from one court to another.
  • The transfer of lawsuits is permitted in exceptional circumstances after a formal request has been made by the Minister of Justice.
  • According to Article 1, the Supreme Judicial Council may, upon a request from the Minister of Justice, transfer cases from one court to another within the same province or between provinces.
  • The Law was originally passed to ease the transfer of cases from conflict zones to safe areas and to extend the time period for processing claims that were lost, burnt or destroyed during the war.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 22, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 26, 2017

Paris Agreement on Climate Change Law

Law 31/2017
  • Ratifies Syria’s accession to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • A Syrian delegation was dispatched to the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany to confirm Syria’s participation in the Paris Agreement.
  • While Syria is preparing to join the Paris Agreement, only one country refuses to be a signatory – the United States.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 22, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 26, 2017

Iraq Entry Visas Law

Law 30/2017
  • Ratifies a memorandum of understanding signed between Syria and Iraq on the mutual exemption of entry visas for holders of diplomatic, service, private and official passports.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on October 24, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 26, 2017

Foreign Exchange Law

Law 29/2017
  • Amends Articles 4(a) and 4(b) of the Foreign Exchange Law to raise the minimum capital requirements for foreign exchange offices and companies.
  • The minimum capital requirements became SYP 200 million for offices in remote areas, SYP 400 million for offices in general and SYP 2 billion for companies.
  • Foreign exchange offices and companies are given a maximum period of two years to settle their statuses in accordance with the Law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on September 18, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 26, 2017

Tobacco Law

Law 26/2017
  • Provides for a fine on any person who smuggles or sells illegal tobacco and cigarettes.
  • Fine is to be worth three times the value of the smuggled quantity.
  • The Law comes in light of efforts to protect the national tobacco industry from foreign competition and price manipulation caused by smugglers.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 31, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 3, 2017

Tax Exemptions Law

Law 25/2017
  • Exempts income taxpayers for liabilities up to 2015 from interest payments and fines if they pay them by December 31, 2017.
  • The Law also exempts consumption taxpayers and others for liabilities up to 2016 from interest payments and fines if they pay them by December 31, 2017.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 31, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 3, 2017

Cattle Import Law

Law 24/2017
  • Amends Article 2 of Legislative Decree 30/2015 and further exempts cow imports from customs duties, fees and so forth for five years.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 31, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 3, 2017

Military Service Law

Legislative Decree 24/2017
  • Revokes the authority of the General Command of the Armed Forces to offer exemptions to Syrians from military service for a number of reasons.
  • Accordingly, this Law revokes Article 25(h) of the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007, which had granted such authority in the first place.
  • The Law also raised concerns about whether those persons who were previously granted exemptions by the General Command would have their exemptions withdrawn. However, there is no evidence as of yet that this is the case.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 5, 2017

Martyrs’ Families Employment Law

Legislative Decree 22/2017
  • Amends the Martyrs’ Families Employment Law.
  • According to the Law, 50% of job vacancies in the public sector are reserved for the families of martyrs.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 28, 2017

Public-Private Partnership Law

Legislative Decree 21/2017
  • Introduces some procedural adjustments to the Public-Private Partnership Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 16, 2017

Council of Ministers Rules of Procedure Law

Legislative Decree 20/2017
  • Establishes a new system for the Rules of Procedure of the Council of Ministers.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 16, 2017

Income Tax Law

Legislative Decree 19/2017
  • Makes some revisions to the Income Tax Law with respect to touristic facilities.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 8, 2017

Shipping Fees Law

Legislative Decree 18/2017
  • Amends Law 27/2008 with respect to shipping fees.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 2, 2017

Telecommunication Payments Exemption Law

Legislative Decree 17/2017
  • Exempts debtors to the Syrian Telecommunications Company from interest and other payments if they settle their debts.
  • Applies to debtors who have subscribed to landline, telex, wireless devices and so forth.
  • Subscribers whose subscriptions were cancelled due to unpaid debts can restore them if they pay half their debts at least.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 24, 2017

General Women’s Union Law

Legislative Decree 16/2017
  • Revokes Law 33/1975 (amended by Law 3/1984), which led to the creation of the Union.
  • Accordingly, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour will replace the Union with respect to its rights and duties.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 23, 2017

Maritime Courts Law

Law 20/2017
  • Establishes the Maritime Courts of First Instance and Appeal.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 29, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 9, 2017

Industrial Imports Law

Law 19/2017
  • Exempts imported machines and production lines bound for licensed industrial businesses from customs duties and other import fees.
  • Accordingly, the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade will be in charge of granting import licenses for these machines and production lines.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 30, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 9, 2017

Social Security Exemption Law

Law 15/2017
  • Extends the provisions of Law 4/2016 for another year.
  • Law 4/2016 exempts employers registered with the General Establishment for Social Security from paying interest payments and other fines incurred.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 29, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 5, 2017

Arms and Ammunition  Law

Law 10/2017
  • Amends the fees of licenses stipulated for in Article 37 of the Arms and Ammunition Law provided for in Legislative Decree 51/2001.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 9, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 19, 2017

Poultry and Cattle Farms Income Tax Law

Law 8/2017
  • Exempts poultry and cattle farms from income tax for a period of five years to economically support these facilities.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 19, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 23, 2017

Mineral Resources Law

Law 7/2017
  • Safeguards the state’s right to protect mineral resources and prevent their illegal extraction, transfer and distribution.
  • Article 2: The state has the right to claim mineral resources extracted by the public, private and joint sectors and any subsequent revenues shall be transferred to the Public Treasury.
  • Article 3: Determines the value of the state’s right, which can be adjusted annually by a decision from the Minister of Finance.
  • The previous legislation regulating this sector was provided for in the Mineral Resources Law 67/2006.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 9, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 16, 2017

Electricity Theft Law

Law 6/2017
  • Contains amendments to Article 4 of the Electricity Theft Law provided for in Legislative Decree 35/2015.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 7, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 9, 2017

Insurance Courts Law

Law 5/2017
  • Establishes civil courts of first instance and appeal in each of the Syrian provinces with the exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate on insurance-related disputes.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 6, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 9, 2017

Civil Status Law

Law 4/2017
  • Amends the Civil Status Law provided for in Legislative Decree 26/2007 to address and reflect current conflict-related challenges.
  • Any change in a Syrian citizen’s civil status abroad is deemed valid if it is legally compliant in that country and does not conflict with Syrian law.
  • The civil status amendment overseas must be registered with the Syrian embassy, consulate or body representing Syrian interests in the respective country.
  • If one of the spouses is a foreign national, the registration of the marriage requires the approval of the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs.
  • A husband and wife must subsequently obtain what is known as a ‘family card’.
  • Other amendments provide for a fine of SYP 15,000 to be paid in the event a non-registered person does not apply for civil status registration within one year after they turn 18.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 7, 2017
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 9, 2017

Armored Cars Law

Legislative Decree 12/2017
  • Lays down provisions concerning customs duties and fines related to armored cars.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February, 2017

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 11/2017
  • Extends the General Amnesty Law provided for in Legislative Decree 15/2016 until June 30, 2017.
  • The general amnesty was granted to armed individuals who turned themselves in to the authorities and laid down their arms and to those who set their hostages free.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 2, 2017

Syrian Trade Establishment Law

Legislative Decree 6/2017
  • Merges three public entities into the Syrian Trade Establishment with the authority to directly import goods.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 18, 2017

Temporary Employees Law

Legislative Decree 4/2017
  • Stipulates that a minister may provide permanent job positions to temporary employees on an annual contractual basis.
  • Applies to the families of martyrs, including their sons and daughters, and to those on youth contracts.
  • According to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, 40,000 temporary employees stand to benefit from permanent employment under this Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 12, 2017

Military Service Law

Law 3/2017
  • Amends Articles 48 and 49 of the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007.
  • Allows Syrians aged between 17 and 42 years to travel abroad upon obtaining approval from the General Conscription Directorate after paying SYP 50,000.
  • The Law exempts civilian employees, those exempted from compulsory military service, Army and security personnel, those on government-sponsored study programs, or those who are part of official missions among others from paying the fee.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 27, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 5, 2017

Evangelical Denominate Law

Law 2/2017
  • Regulates inheritance and wills for the followers of the Evangelical denomination in Syria.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 27, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 5, 2017

Martyrdom Law

Law 1/2017
  • Grants a martyrdom certificate to injured military personnel who succumbed to their wounds after they completed their military service.
  • The wounds include those sustained due to the ongoing war and military operations against hostile elements and terrorist groups.
  • Accordingly, the families of such military personnel shall receive the rights afforded to the families of martyrs.
  • Proof of martyrdom resulting from the conflict must be provided.
  • The Law retroactively applies to cases dating back to March 15, 2011.
  • It is worth noting that the rights resulting from martyrdom differ from those accorded to injured military personnel.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 27, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 5, 2017

Driver License Fees Law

Law 26/2016
  • Raises fee collections for driver licenses in all categories as the Ministry of Interior is planning to issue automated tamper-proof licenses.
  • Amends Article 34 of Legislative Decree 117/1961, which was also amended by Legislative Decree 66/2013.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 1, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 7, 2016

Budget Law

Law 24/2016
  • Gives effect to the 2017 national budget worth SYP 2.66 trillion after it was approved by the People’s Assembly.
  • President Bashar Al-Assad had previously referred the draft to the Syrian Parliament.
  • The Balance and Accounts Committee in the People’s Assembly had recently reviewed the provisions of the budget for each Ministry.
  • The Minister of Finance had previously told MPs that the budget allocates large sums for health, education and utilities while reducing administrative spending to the lowest possible sum.
  • The breakdown of the budget includes SYP 1.98 trillion for running expenditures and SYP 678 billion for investments. From this amount, SYP 423 billion is allocated for social support initiatives, SYP 50 billion is being allocated annually for limited reconstruction and repairs while investment allocations for the agricultural sector total SYP 25.3 billion.
  • During the budget deliberations, the Minister of Finance told MPs that the budget deficit rose 244% over the past five years since the conflict began.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 30, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 4, 2016

Al-Assad University Hospital Law

Law 23/2016
  • Sanctions the transfer of Al-Assad University Hospital in Lattakia to the Ministry of Defence.
  • The Law also transfers employees of Al-Assad University Hospital in Lattakia to Tishreen University Hospital.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 17, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 23, 2016

Sworn Translators Law

Law 22/2016
  • Deals with sworn translators obtaining an official license before practising the profession.
  • Amends Article 2 of the Sworn Translators Law and stipulates that no person may practise the profession unless they are registered accordingly and receive their official license from the Ministry of Justice in exchange for a SYP 25,000 fee.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 17, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 23, 2016

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 32/2016
  • Extends the validity of Legislative Decree 15/2016, which relates to the granting of amnesty, for three months.
  • Legislative Decree 15/2016 grants amnesty to those persons who turn themselves in to the authorities and lay down their arms as well as those who set their hostages free.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 27, 2016

Telecommunications Law

Legislative Decree 31/2016
  • Extends the mandate of the Syrian Telecommunications Company, which was established pursuant to the Telecommunications Law 18/2010.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 1, 2016

Residence Permits Law

Legislative Decree 30/2016
  • Amends Article 29(a) of Law 2/2014 and thereby raises the fees for granting residence permits to Arabs and foreigners living in Syria.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 1, 2016

Border Departure Law

Legislative Decree 24/2016
  • Amends Legislative Decree 34/2009 with regards to departure fees.
  • Each person leaving Syria from an airport shall pay a fee of SYP 5,000 while those leaving from land borders or ports must pay SYP 2,000 each.
  • Every car departing Syria incurs a fee of SYP 10,000.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 7, 2016

Cabinet Consultative Council Law

Legislative Decree 22/2016
  • Establishes the Cabinet Consultative Council to advise the Prime Minister and ministers on affairs of state.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 1, 2016

Judicial Common Fund Law

Law 21/2016
  • Establishes a common fund for judges, the state’s lawyers at the Legal Affairs Department and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 31, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 30, 2016

Illegal Mobile Phones Law

Law 20/2016
  • Exempts owners of illegally-imported mobile phones from fines and legal liability if they declare them to the Customs Directorate and pay the required fees.
  • Law will be effective for three months.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 31, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 3, 2016

Competition Commission Law

Legislative Decree 19/2016
  • Provides for the Competition Protection and Anti-Monopoly Commission to be affiliated to the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 25, 2016

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 15/2016
  • Grants an amnesty to those persons who turn themselves in and lay down their weapons, and also to kidnappers who set their hostages free.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 28, 2016

Judicial Proceedings Transfer Law

Law 15/2016
  • Extends the provisions of Legislative Decree 28/2013 for a fourth year upon the expiration of the recent extension provided for in Legislative Decree 24/2015.
  • Legislative Decree 28/2013 permits the Supreme Judicial Council to transfer lawsuit proceedings from one court to another in exceptional circumstances after a formal request has been made by the Minister of Justice.
  • The Law was originally passed to ease the transfer of cases from conflict to safe areas and to extend the time period for processing claims that were lost, burnt or destroyed during the war.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 17, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 20, 2016

Public Employment Law

Law 14/2016
  • Revokes the decision that terminates the employment of public sector employees if they enlist for mandatory military service.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 14, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 20, 2016

Employment Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 13/2016
  • Adds an additional SYP 7,500 per month to the salaries of public sector employees, both civilian and military personnel, workers in the private and joint public-private sectors, and families of retired employees.
  • The SYP 7,500 per month is in addition to the SYP 4,000 monthly increase provided for in Employment Salaries Law and its executive regulations contained in Regulation 394/2015.
  • The executive regulations to this Law were issued by the Minister of Labour in Regulation 950/2016.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 18, 2016

Foreign Employees Rules

ML Regulation 888/2016
  • Foreign nationals must not compete with Syrian workers and their work experience and competence must be taken into consideration.
  • They have to obtain a work permit and residence permit for employment purposes.
  • The number of foreign nationals employed by one employer cannot exceed 10% of the total employed workforce.
  • The salaries for foreign employees cannot exceed 30% of the total salaries paid by that employer.
  • There are however additional restrictions imposed on the number of foreign nationals employed by banks, insurance companies, financial services companies and brokerages.
  • The number of foreign nationals at these companies cannot exceed nine percent of the total employed workforce during the first two years of operations.
  • They must gradually decrease to three percent of the total employed workforce after five years.
  • If there is a lack of Syrians capable of doing jobs at these companies, the Ministry of Labour can raise these quotas.
  • The restrictions contained in this Regulation do not apply to foreign nationals resident in Syria for more than 15 years prior to the submission of their work permit application.
  • They also do not apply if the potential worker has a Syrian mother or is married to a Syrian national.
Issued by Dr. Khalaf Al-Abdullah, Minister of Labour, on June 6, 2016

Import Deposit Rules

MEFT Regulation 481/2016
  • Seeks to facilitate the flow of imports into Syria.
  • A few items were exempted from the Rules while changes were made to the list that comprises ‘Category A’ imports.
  • The deposit rules for ‘Category B’ imports were reduced from 100% to 25% and this new deposit requirement includes goods that are subject to customs duties of 20% and 30%.
Issued by Dr. Humam Al-Jazairi, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, on June 5, 2016

Digital Real Estate Gazette Law

Legislative Decree 12/2016
  • Grants legal status to the digital version of the Real Estate Gazette.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 19, 2016

Property Registration Law

Legislative Decree 11/2016
  • Suspends the registration of properties in land registries that were closed due to unstable security conditions.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 5, 2016

UNIDROIT Convention Law

Legislative Decree 10/2016
  • Syria accedes to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.
  • The UNIDROIT Convention complements the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and further aims to strengthen the fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural property.
  • Throughout the current conflict, Syria has been a victim of the illegal trafficking of cultural property, such as in Palmyra and many other places.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 2, 2016

Supreme Judicial Institute Law

Legislative Decree 9/2016
  • Amends Article 15 of Law 23/2013 with the objective of increasing the number of highly-qualified applicants to the Supreme Judicial Institute, the body entrusted with training judges.
 Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 24, 2016

Loan Guarantee Law

Law 12/2016
  • Sets up the Loan Guarantee Establishment (LGE).
  • Headquartered in Damascus with a capital of SYP 5 billion, the LGE is to take the form of a private joint stock company that does not offer its shares to the public.
  • The Central Bank and certain financial institutions can contribute to its capital but foreign shareholders are limited to a 49% shareholding.
  • The LGE’s main objective will be to guarantee loans by banks and other financial institutions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • By guaranteeing loans to SMEs, the LGE will seek to bolster their position in the economy.
  • It is expected to give banks and other financial institutions a certain degree of confidence to lend money to SMEs.
  • The LGE is permitted to invest its surplus funds at a value of no more than 25% of its capital in low-risk financial investments.
  • The Economic Committee, which is linked to the Council of Ministers, welcomed the People’s Assembly’s passage of this Law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 23, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 28, 2016

Scientific Excellence and Creativity Agency Law

Law 11/2016
  • Establishes the Scientific Excellence and Creativity Agency, which will be linked to the Minister of Higher Education.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 7, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 10, 2016

Teachers Pension Fund Law

Law 9/2016
  • Establishes a pension fund for teachers.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 28, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 3, 2016

Electoral Law

Law 8/2016
  • Amends some provisions of the Electoral Law to take into account certain logistical issues in order to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections in April.
  • The People’s Assembly moved quickly in passing this Law after it was briefly reviewed by its Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 22, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 23, 2016

Military Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 8/2016
  • Grants amnesty to soldiers both inside and outside Syria who deserted their posts.
  • Also grants amnesty for crimes included in the Military Service Law that were committed before February 17, 2016.
 Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 17, 2016

Hero Order Law

Law 6/2016
  • Amends Article 5 of Legislative Decree 75/1973, which created the Order of the Hero of the Republic.
  • The Order was originally awarded to civilians in Syria who contribute towards achieving military victories and to soldiers in Arab armies that fight alongside Syrian forces.
  • According to the Law, the Order can now be awarded to fighters from other allied countries fighting alongside Syrian forces.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on February 11, 2016
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 17, 2016

Housing Exemption Law

Legislative Decree 7/2016
  • Exempts citizens benefiting from social housing provided by the General Housing Establishment from paying fines for failing to make fee payments on time.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 1, 2016

Public-Private Partnership Law

Law 5/2016
  • The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has been enacted with a view to preparing the ground for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of infrastructure in coordination with the private sector.
  • PPPs can be defined as long-term contractual arrangements entered into by governmental entities and private sector parties with the aim of delivering services to the general public.
  • When delivering public services under these business models, the private partner bears most of the risk and management responsibility associated with running the public facility in return for a profit.
  • The PPP Law provides for the establishment of the PPP Council that makes important decisions to push PPP projects forward, which include approving PPP contracts. The PPP Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, supervises PPP projects and regulates agreements entered into by public and private sector partners.
  • The PPP Bureau is expected to be the institutional focal point for implementing the PPP program such as by identifying potential projects and actively participating in the project procurement lifecycle.
  • In terms of procurement procedures, the Tender Evaluation Committee will be tasked with evaluating bids and selecting preferred bidders.
  • The Law provides for investment incentives for private sector partners to become shareholders in special purpose vehicles, which include the right of financial repatriation by foreign investors.
  • The participation of the private sector along with its financial capabilities and expertise in delivering certain public services is recognized as a crucial component of the reconstruction process.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 10, 2016

Social Security Exemption Law

Law 4/2016
  • Exempts businessmen and employers registered with the General Establishment for Social Security from making penalty and interest payments if they pay their dues within a year.
  • Additionally, the Ministry of Labour has issued the executive regulations to implement this Law.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 6, 2016

Exports Development Law

Law 3/2016
  • Creates a body called the Agency for Supporting and Developing Local Products and Exports to replace the Export Development and Promotion Agency (EDPA).
  • Consequently, it revokes Legislative Decree 6/2009, which established the EDPA, and Legislative Decree 19/2009, which launched the Export Development Fund.
  • The new body will support the domestic production of goods and look to improve their quality in order to assist Syrian companies to meet local demand.
  • It will also encourage them to export their products overseas even under the strenuous conditions facing the country.
  • In strengthening its competitiveness in international markets, domestic production will be supported at all stages leading up to the exportation of the goods.
  • Following the enactment of this Law, the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade is preparing to activate the Agency for Supporting and Developing Local Products and Exports.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 6, 2016

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Law

Law 2/2016
  • Establishes the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Development Agency to replace the General Employment and Project Development Agency.
  • The SME Development Agency is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade and covers a variety of sectors.
  • Its tasks include coordinating and making plans to develop SMEs, creating policies, undertaking studies, facilitating the financing of projects, monitoring their progress, and so on.
  • In accordance with this Law, the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade has set up a committee to lay the foundations for the SME Development Agency to pursue its mandate.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 6, 2016

Civil Procedure Code

Law 1/2016
  • The civil courts- the Magistrate of the Peace, the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation are operated in accordance with the Civil Procedure Code.
  • The Code lays down numerous provisions pertaining to how cases are managed throughout the civil court system and what actions judges may take under the relevant circumstances.
  • Judges play a dominant role during trial proceedings.
  • The latest Civil Procedure Code seeks to simplify and enhance the litigation process and the execution of judgments.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 17, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 3, 2016

Public Banks Loan Repayments Law

Law 26/2015
  • Sets the conditions and deadlines for settling debts owed to publicly-owned banks.
  • Lays out how debtors can apply to benefit from its provisions and also provides for the establishment of relevant committees to assess and approve applications.
  • Also deals with exemptions, circumstances when debts can be waived partially or totally, options when settlements are voidable, grace periods and much more.
  • Replaces the preceding Legislative Decree 213/2006, which used to govern loan repayments to public banks.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 27, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 29, 2015

Civil Status Law

Law 24/2015
  • Amends Article 20 of the Civil Status Law provided for in Legislative Decree 26/2007.
  • Facilitates the registration of birth and death certificates.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 2, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 8, 2015

Urban Planning Law

Law 23/2015
  • Deals with the concept of planning and the division and organization of land.
  • The Law has a particular focus on zoning provisions.
  • Helps to curb illegal housing settlements and to develop urban expansion.
  • Repeals Law 9/1974 and Law 60/1979, which previously regulated these matters.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 2, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 8, 2015

National Budget Law

Law 22/2015
  • Enacts the state’s national budget for 2016 estimated at SYP 1.98 trillion.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 19, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 23, 2015

Building Permit Fees Exemption Law

Law 21/2015
  • Exempts property owners from paying building permit fees if they are intending to carry out repairs on their properties to fix damages sustained as a result of the conflict in the country.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 16, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 23, 2015

Landlord and Tenant Law

Law 20/2015
  • Law 20/2015 seeks to put an end to manipulations of rents and other problems that have arisen between landlords and tenants.
  • Maintains more or less the favourable provisions towards landlords as those provided for in the preceding Law 6/2001.
  • The parties may set rental prices as they see fit
  • The parties are still permitted to conclude fixed-term leases.
  • Landlords and tenants are free to determine the conditions for rescission of leases.
  • Further restrictions have been inserted into this Law that seek to protect tenants from undue pressure to vacate leased properties.
  • Reference to evicting tenants under the previous law provided for in Legislative Decree 111/1952 by paying them 40% of the value of the leased property has been omitted.
  • Readopts the rule that political parties and public entities can be evicted from private properties starting on January 1, 2018 as long as their landlords pay them 40% of the value of the leased premises.
  • The registration of leases at the relevant municipal or administrative bodies can now be carried out by owners holding 75% of the shares in the leased property.
  • In order to assign a commercial lease, the tenant must pay the landlord an amount equaling 10% of the property value in order to transfer the lease to a third party.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 4, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 11, 2015

Pilots Law

Law 18/2015
  • Increases the age of retirement of Syrian Arab Airlines pilots from 60 years to 65 years.
  • Amends Article 200 of Legislative Decree 35/1979, which provides for the age of retirement.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 5, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 8, 2015

Payroll Tax Law

Legislative Decree 48/2015
  • Doubles the payroll tax for employees who receive an income comprised of a fixed payment to 10% from five percent.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 1, 2015

Payroll Tax Law

Legislative Decree 46/2015
  • The minimum amount exempt from the payroll tax, which applies to salaries and wages earned by employees, has been increased to SYP 15,000 from SYP 10,000 in accordance with Legislative Decree 46/2015.
  • The provisions governing the payroll tax are found in the Income Tax Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 23, 2015

Pensions Law

Legislative Decree 42/2015
  • Grants retired public sector employees, both civilian and military personnel, an increase of SYP 2,500 in their pension payments.
  • Also covers pensions received by the families of deceased pensioners
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 23, 2015

Employment Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 41/2015
  • Grants retired public sector employees, both civilian and military personnel, a monthly increase of SYP 2,500 in their salaries.
  • The pay raise will also apply to employees of mixed public-private sector companies, in which the state owns at least a 75% share.
  • Also covers other forms of contractual employment, including on a part-time basis.
  • Increases the monthly minimum wage to SYP 16,175 for employees in the private sector, the cooperative sector, and the mixed public-private sectors not subject to the provisions of the Public Employment Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 23, 2015

Military Service Law

Legislative Decree 38/2015
  • Amends Article 74 of the Military Service Law provided for in Legislative Decree 30/2007.
  • Grants all public sector employees leave with pay while fulfilling their military service obligations and also guarantees them their right to return to their jobs.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 13, 2015

Electricity Theft Law

Legislative Decree 35/2015
  • This law sanctions tougher penalties on individuals who illegally obtain electrical power.
  • Previous laws that address electricity theft have been enacted in the past as this issue is becoming more prominent as a result of electrical shortages in the country.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 12, 2015

IFOAM Law

Legislative Decree 34/2015
  • Syria has acceded to the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) by virtue of this law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 12, 2015

Economic and Financial Criminal Courts Law

Law 15/2015
  • Creates criminal courts with jurisdiction over economic and financial disputes.
  • During the current conflict and even before, there has been a surge in crimes of this nature.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 28, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 30, 2015

Consumer Protection Law

Law 14/2015
  • Replaces Law 2/2008.
  • Seeks to ensure that sellers respect competition in the markets.
  • Includes provisions governing prices by imposing important controls on merchants to protect consumers against price increases and monopolistic practices.
  • Measures in this Law include deploying inspectors into the markets to monitor vendors.
  • Provides for the regulation of imports.
  • Manufacturers are expected to maintain the quality of their products by adhering to certain standards of production.
  • Strict penalties have been adopted to deter the sale of products, which may be of poor quality or contaminated.
  • Consumers have the right to be informed of the details of a product or service.
  • False advertising or fraud is outlawed.
  • Sanctions against violators are expected to include heavy fines and imprisonment.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 25, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 26, 2015

Municipal Fees Exemption Law

Law 13/2015
  • Exempts persons from interests and other penalties if they settle their municipal fees and others liabilities, such as building violation fines, by the end of this year.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 22, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 26, 2015

Taxpayers Exemption Law

Law 12/2015
  • Exempts taxpayers from fines resulting from the late payment of income, consumption and property taxes as long as they pay them by the end of this year.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 22, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 26, 2015

Local Administration Law

Law 11/2015
  • Amends Article 55(1) of the Local Administration Law provided for in Legislative Decree 107/2011.
  • Relates to the powers of governors in the various provinces throughout Syria.
  • In the event of a provincial governor’s absence, the police chief in the province becomes the representative of the executive authority there and the deputy head of the province’s executive office acts on the governor’s behalf in all matters related to this body.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 22, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 26, 2015

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 32/2015
  • Grants a general amnesty to military deserters both inside and outside Syria and to those who should be performing their mandatory military service but have refrained from doing so.
  • This law applies to violations committed before July 25, 2015.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 25, 2015

Local Council Contracts Law

Law 10/2015
  • Permits extending the duration of investment and lease contracts that have been signed between local councils and their counterparties.
  • In certain areas of the country, these contracts have become difficult to implement by the contracting parties and thus, this Law seeks to remedy these situations as a result.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 6, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 8, 2015

Emergency Loans Law

Law 9/2015
  • Authorizes the Minister of Finance to provide emergency loans from the Public Treasury when necessary.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 7, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 8, 2015

Iranian Credit Line Law

Law 8/2015
  • Ratifies the latest credit line Iran agreed to provide to Syria estimated at around US$1 billion.
  • The credit line will be used to finance the import of goods and commodities as well as implementing various projects.
  • The two parties that agreed the deal are the Commercial Bank of Syria and Iran’s Export Development Bank.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 7, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 8, 2015

Custom Offenders Exemption Law

Law 7/2015
  • Exempts customs offenders from certain fines incurred in accordance with the Customs Law 38/2006 as long as they pay the required duties.
  • Exemptions from fines will apply if overdue customs duties along with other taxes and fees are paid up.
  • However, a fine worth 40% of the total value of the imported goods will also have to be paid.
  • Where applicable, other fines will be reduced to 10% accordingly.
  • Moreover, committees will be set up in accordance with this Law to conclude settlement agreements with offenders.
  • This Law applies to offences committed before July 9, 2013.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 5, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 7, 2015

Industrial Cities Building Permit Law

Law 6/2015
  • Exempts industrial businesses, craftsmen and artisans based in the industrial cities from paying the renewal fees for their building permits.
  • This Law applies to those parties whose permits expired but want to renew them and to those who are unable to complete the construction of their facilities due to the current unstable conditions.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 25, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 29, 2015

Loan Repayment Law

Law 5/2015
  • Extends Article 4(a) of Law 11/2014, which exempts borrowers of the state-owned Agricultural Cooperative Bank from paying interest payments and fines as long as they pay back their debts by December 31st of this year.
  • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this Law seeks to support farmers who have been affected by the drought that hit the agricultural sector from 2013 to 2014.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 11, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 14, 2015

Road Traffic Law

Law 4/2015
  • Amends Articles 96 and 180 of the Road Traffic Law 31/2004.
  • Accordingly, owners and drivers will not be held liable if their vehicles are involved in accidents resulting in bodily harm while they are not in motion.
  • This change brings to an end a controversial policy whereby an owner or driver of a parked vehicle for instance was held responsible even if a cyclist or pedestrian struck their automobile and was injured as a result.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 9, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 11, 2015

Cattle Import Law

Legislative Decree 30/2015
  • Exempts the import of cattle from customs duties, taxes and other fees as long as they are used for the purposes of raising and breeding.
  • As a result, the price of one imported cow is predicted to reach SYP 50,000.
  • This law was enacted in response to serious pressures on the agricultural sector during the last few years, which affected the livestock industry.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 9, 2015

Housing Law

Legislative Decree 26/2015
  • Regulates the activities of the General Housing Establishment (GHE) to meet the needs of the population in light of the current conflict, particularly through social housing.
  • The GHE is mainly tasked with satisfying the housing and construction requirements in the country and setting five-year plans to meet these targets.
  • Replaces the previous law provided for in Legislative Decree 76/2011.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 27, 2015

University Lecturers Law

Legislative Decree 25/2015
  • The need to undertake the Agrégation, which is a civil service competitive examination that enables individuals to become university lecturers, no longer applies to graduates who come first in their respective degree.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 24, 2015

Judicial Proceedings Transfer Law

Legislative Decree 24/2015
  • Legislative Decree 24/2015 extends the provisions of Legislative Decree 28/2013 for a third year after the original extension provided for by Legislative Decree 17/2014 expired.
  • Legislative Decree 28/2013 permits the Supreme Judicial Council to transfer lawsuit proceedings from one court to another in exceptional circumstances after a formal request has been made by the Minister of Justice.
  • This law was originally passed to ease the transfer of cases from conflict to safe areas.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 24, 2015

Cards of Honour Law

Legislative Decree 20/2015
  • Grants ‘Cards of Honour’ to the relatives of martyrs, missing and disabled persons, which provides them with medical services free of charge, including hospitalizations, treatments and surgeries.
  • In addition, they will receive a 50% discount on public transportation fees.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 30, 2015

Local Council Private Companies Law

Legislative Decree 19/2015
  • Permits the establishment of private joint stock companies on the basis of social, economic and regulatory studies with the objective of managing and investing the assets belonging to the various local councils within Syria.
  • Approval must first be sought from the Minister of Local Administration based on a proposal from the relevant provincial council.
  • These companies will consist of a chairman and members of local councils and their resolutions will have to be ratified by the governor of the province where the local council is located.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 30, 2015

Turkish Imports Law

Legislative Decree 18/2015
  • Amends Law 28/2011 with regards to the imposition of a 30% fee on all Turkish goods and materials imported into Syria.
  • The law requires the fees collected to be utilized for reconstruction efforts.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 29, 2015

Passports Law

Legislative Decree 17/2015
  • Amends Law 1/2014.
  • Doubles the fees of consular services provided to Syrian nationals living overseas.
  • Application fees for passports and visas are set at US$400 while the price for renewing them is fixed at US$200.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 21, 2015

Companies Law

Legislative Decree 15/2015
  • Amends the Companies Law provided for in Legislative Decree 29/2011.
  • Extends by an additional year the time period for companies to settle their status in accordance with the Companies Law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 19, 2015

Nurseries Law

Law 3/2015
  • Deals with the organization and licensing of nurseries for children under the age of three years.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 15, 2015
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 23, 2015

Consumption Tax Law

Legislative Decree 11/2015
  • This law imposes taxes on a variety of goods and services ranging between one percent and 20% but can reach up to 60% with respect to automobile sales.
  • Syria does not presently have a formal Value Added Tax regime.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 28, 2015

Income Tax Law

Legislative Decree 10/2015
  • Amends the main Income Tax Law 24/2003.
  • The changes in this law touch on the classification of taxpayers such as small businesses who are entitled to pay a fixed lump-sum amount as opposed to complying with the relevant tax brackets.
  • Provides that state-owned joint stock companies operated in accordance with the Companies Law are taxed at the single rate of 22%.
  • Exempts the sale of shares in both public and private joint stock companies from capital gains tax.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 26, 2015

Employment Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 7/2015
  • Grants public sector employees an additional SYP 4,000 in monthly salaries.
  • Applies to both civilian and military personnel.
  • The executive regulations to this Law were issued by the Minister of Labour in Regulation 394/2015.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 18, 2015

Common Property Dissolution Law

Law 1/2015
  • Repeals Law 21/1986 and reactivates Article 790 of the Civil Code.
  • Caters to the possibility that disputes may arise between common owners of property or that one or more of them may wish to put an end to the co-owner relationship between them.
  • Tasks the Magistrate of the Peace with solving these disputes with the assistance of valuation experts and its decisions may be challenged before the Court of Appeal.
  • The measures these courts may take include partitioning the property among the owners and deciding on claims of ownership.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 30, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 15, 2015

Customs Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 4/2015
  • Exempts any person from criminal liability in the event they have illegally imported certain goods into Syria so long as they make the relevant declarations to the Customs authorities and pay the required duties and fees.
  • These exemptions shall be valid for a period of three months.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 11, 2015

Tartous University Law

Legislative Decree 2/2015
  • Establishes Tartous University.
  • This University will initially be comprised of the following faculties:
  1. Medicine
  2. Education
  3. Economy
  4. Literature and Human Sciences
  5. Pharmaceuticals
  6. Technical Engineering
  7. Telecommunications and Information Technology
  8. Tourism
  9. Applied Sciences
  • The faculty and administrative staff of Tartous University will be sourced from Tishreen University in neighbouring Lattakia.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 5, 2015

Martyrs’ Families Employment Law

Law 36/2014
  • Allocates 50% of job vacancies in the public sector to the families of martyrs.
  • Competitions provided for under the Public Employment Law 50/2004 will be used for the purposes of recruitment.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 31, 2014

Gold Bullion Registration Law

Law 35/2014
  • Imposes a fine amounting to $200 (US) (or its equivalent SYP value) payable to the Central Bank on every kilogram of gold on any owner who does not register their bullion accordingly.
  • Owners who have failed to register their gold bullions and who have not paid the relevant import fees are provided with an opportunity to do so in order to avoid any legal liabilities.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 21, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 24, 2014

Medical Laboratories Law

Law 34/2014
  • Amends the main law contained in Legislative Decree 42/2012.
  • Imposes penalties including imprisonment from one-to-three years and a fine ranging from SYP 300,000 to SYP 500,000 on any person who undertakes medical lab work without a valid license.
  • Permits the Minister of Health to issue an order to shut down any medical laboratories operating without a license and to confiscate their equipment.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 10, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 15, 2014

Medical Advertisements Law

Law 32/2014
  • Amends the Law 7/2005.
  • Imposes penalties including imprisonment from three months to two years and a fine ranging from SYP 100,000 to SYP 300,000 on any person who promotes medical advertisements without obtaining prior permission to establish an advertisement office for this purpose.
  • Any unlicensed medical advertisement offices will be shut down and their contents will be confiscated accordingly.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 10, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 14, 2014

Sworn Translation Law

Law 22/2014
  • Regulates the sworn translation profession, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice and specifically the Sworn Translation Affairs Commission.
  • Lays down conditions for individuals intending to practice this profession, which includes swearing an oath before the first Civil Court of Appeal.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 3, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 9, 2014

Banking Courts Law

Law 21/2014
  • Courts of first instance and appeal shall be set up throughout the provinces to handle cases where one of the parties to the lawsuit is either a bank or other financial establishment.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 3, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5, 2014

Housing Cooperatives Laws

Legislative Decrees 36/2014 & 37/2014
  • Amendments made by Legislative Decree 36/2014 permit beneficiaries of housing cooperative properties to transfer ownership to another party so long as they settle all their financial obligations.
  • In these circumstances, the housing cooperative authority shall charge a transfer fee equal to one percent of the purchase price or the estimated value of the property.
  • Additionally, beneficiaries are required to pay a fee amounting to no less than seven percent on all sums due to the cooperative up to the date the property is transferred to the new owner.
  • Previously, there was a prohibition on the transfer and resale of these types of properties for a period of up to 15 years.
  • The transfer of these properties is permitted so long as the person to whom the property is sold does not already own a housing cooperative unit.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 19, 2014

Syrian Electronic School Law

Legislative Decree 34/2014
  • Establishes the Syrian Electronic School.
  • Provides online electronic education to students in grades 1-12.
  • Helps students who are unable to attend school to continue their educational studies.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 11, 2014

Military Service Law

Legislative Decree 33/2014
  • Amends the main law contained in Legislative Decree 30/2007.
  • For individuals who have spent a minimum of four years abroad, they are entitled to pay a military service exemption fee of $8,000 (US); previously, the limits were set at a minimum of five years abroad and a fee of $15,000 (US).
  • For expatriates who are born abroad or who resided outside Syria, the amount is set at $2,500 (US).
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 3, 2014

Property Courts Law

Law 16/2014
  • Repeals the previous Law 89/1958.
  • Regulates the appointment of judges to the Property Courts.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on July 15, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 20, 2014

Notary Public Law

Law 15/2014
  • Repeals the previous Law 54/1959.
  • Regulates the notary public profession, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Lays down conditions for individuals intending to practice this profession, which includes swearing an oath before a judge in the Court of First Instance.
  • Sets out the activities that notaries may undertake.
  • Notaries attest to the validity of contracts, wills and other legal documents as well as providing notarized copies of documents.
  • Provides for digital copies of notarized documents to be made.
  • Gives authority to consular staff abroad to undertake similar tasks.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 24, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 26, 2014

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 22/2014
  • Grants an amnesty for crimes committed before 09/06/2014.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 9, 2014

Hama University Law

Legislative Decree 19/2014
  • Establishes Hama University.
  • This University will initially be comprised of the following faculties:
  1. Medicine
  2. Education
  3. Agriculture
  4. Economy
  5. Nursing
  6. Literature and Human Sciences
  7. Veterinary Medicine
  8. Dentistry
  9. Physical Education
  10. Architecture
  11. Applied Sciences
  • The faculty and administrative staff of Hama University will be sourced from Baath University in neighbouring Homs.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 13, 2014

Supreme Constitutional Court Law

Law 7/2014
  • Repeals the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 35/2012.
  • The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) is governed by the provisions of the Constitution (Arts. 140-149) and the recently updated legislation contained in this Law 7/2014, which lays down detailed procedures as to how the SCC operates.
  • The SCC has the following functions:
  1. Rules on the constitutionality of legislation;
  2. Oversees the presidential election, particularly since it reviews candidacy applications;
  3. Hears electoral disputes arising from the presidential and parliamentary elections; and
  4. The SCC has jurisdiction over the President of the Republic in the event he is accused of criminal offences.
  • The SCC is comprised of 11 judges appointed by the President of the Republic.
  • The judges serve four-year terms, which are renewable.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on April 13, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 16, 2014

Motor Vehicles Law

Legislative Decree 14/2014
  • Repeals the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 3/2014.
  • This law addresses circumstances whereby individuals transport their motor vehicles outside Syrian territory without intending to return them, which in most cases conveys a motive to sell them abroad.
  • According to this law, owners of registered motor vehicles are not permitted to transport their vehicles outside Syrian territory with the intention of selling them unless they fulfil their financial obligations, which include the payment of relevant fees.
  • Any person who contravenes these conditions shall be fined a sum equal to the registered value of the vehicle as recorded with the Transport Directorate.
  • The motor vehicle must be presented at the Syrian border or at the relevant diplomatic missions at least once a year or else the owner will be fined accordingly.
  • Owners of motor vehicles had six months from the promulgation of this law to comply with it.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 5, 2014

Electoral Law

Law 5/2014
  • Governs presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.
  • Gives effect to the electoral process adopted in the current Constitution.
  • Supervision over the electoral process lies with the judiciary.
  • Lays down conditions that candidates for political office must satisfy including age, nationality and residency requirements.
  • Provides for the regulation of campaign financing.
  • Sanctions the use of criminal penalties to deal with violations in the electoral process.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 17, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 24, 2014

Electronic Commerce Law

Law 3/2014
  • Encourages and facilitates commercial transactions using electronic means.
  • Agreements between parties may be concluded electronically.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 4, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 11, 2014

Immigration Law

Law 2/2014
  • Repeals the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 29/1970.
  • With the exception of nationals from countries with special agreements with Syria, only individuals with valid passports and visas may enter Syrian territory.
  • Visa-free travel into Syria by all Arab nationals is no longer the case.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 4, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 11, 2014

Public Relations Officers Law

Legislative Decree 12/2014
  • Sets conditions for persons intending to practice the profession of public relations officers (PRO).
  • PROs are subject to the General Federation of Craftsmen.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 2, 2014.

Passports Law

Law 1/2014
  • Deals with the granting of passports to Syrian citizens living abroad.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on December 29, 2013
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 6, 2014

Copyright Law

Legislative Decree 62/2013
  • Repeals the previous Copyright Law 12/2001.
  • Covers a variety of works.
  • Protects the moral and economic rights of authors to exploit their works.
  • On average, grants 50-year protection periods following the death of an author for most works.
  • Foreign authors have the ability under certain conditions to obtain copyright protection.
  • The Directorate for the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights is tasked with overseeing the implementation of this law.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on September 16, 2013

Private Security Companies Law

Legislative Decree 55/2013
  • Permits the licensing of private security companies, which are responsible for ensuring the safety of individuals and property.
  • Stipulates that the Ministry of Interior shall have the authority to license these companies.
  • One-year renewable licenses are to be issued by the Ministry of Interior to security companies owned solely by Syrian nationals with a capital of not less than SYP 50 million.
  • Each company shall be licensed to recruit between 300 and 800 guards.
  • The Ministry of Interior shall grant these companies the authority to use firearms and approve candidates for guard work while the companies are responsible for training and equipping their employees.
  • Guards will have the power to arrest perpetrators but they must make a report to the police as soon as they make an arrest.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 5, 2013

Currency Transaction Law

Legislative Decree 54/2013
  • Criminalizes the sale of goods priced in any currency other than the Syrian Pound in order to increase demand for the local currency.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 4, 2013

Money Laundering Law

Legislative Decree 46/2013
  • Amends the main law contained in Legislative Decree 33/2005.
  • Adds further crimes to the definition of illicit funds with the aim of bringing the law in line with international standards.
  • The Anti-Money Laundering Commission may impose administrative sanctions and fines amounting up to SYP 100 million if it deems it appropriate to do so.
  • Where necessary, the names of relevant individuals and entities shall be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs in order to determine whether an asset freeze is required.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 9, 2013

Foreign Exchange Law

Law 18/2013
  • Amends the main Law 24/2006 (and Law 29/2012, which originally amended Law 24/2006) with regards to the penalties imposed on persons who practice the foreign exchange profession without a license.
  • Any violators shall be imprisoned for a period of 3-10 years in addition to having their cash seized and furthermore, a fine amounting to three times the value of the sums seized shall be imposed but in any event, the minimum fine is set at SYP 5 million.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 30, 2013
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 4, 2013

Children Combat Law

Law 11/2013
  • Amends the Criminal Code contained in Legislative Decree 148/1949 by inserting two new provisions.
  • Punishes any individual who recruits a child less than 18 years of age for the purposes of involving them in combat or other related activities.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 24, 2013
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 30, 2013

National Trespass Law

Law 9/2013
  • Imposes penalties on individuals who enter Syrian territory illegally.
  • Trespassers may be punished by a prison sentence amounting to 5-10 years and/ or a fine of SYP 5-10 million.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on June 23, 2013
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 25, 2013

Pensions Law

Legislative Decree 39/2013
  • Stipulates for an increase in the monthly pensions of retired civil servants and military personnel.
  • Provides for the following increases in the monthly pensions:
  1. 25% for the first SYP 10,000;
  2. 20% for the second SYP 10,000; and
  3. 10% for the amount above the second SYP 10,000.
  • These increases took effect on July 1, 2013.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 22, 2013

Employment Salaries Law

Legislative Decree 38/2013
  • Stipulates for an increase in the monthly salaries of civil servants and military personnel.
  • Provides for the following increases in the monthly salaries and wages:
  1. 40% for the first SYP 10,000;
  2. 20% for the second SYP 10,000;
  3. 10% for the third SYP 10,000; and
  4. 5% for the amount above the third SYP 10,000.
  • Increases the minimum wage of the private, cooperative and mixed public-private sectors that are not included in the Public Employment Law 50/2004 to SYP 13,670 per month.
  • These increases took effect on July 1, 2013.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on June 22, 2013

Property Disposition Law

Legislative Decree 26/2013
  • Dictates when proprietors of land subject to planning are permitted and not permitted to dispose of their property.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 25, 2013

General Amnesty Law

Legislative Decree 23/2013
  • Grants an amnesty for crimes committed before 16/04/2013.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 16, 2013

Kidnapping Law

Legislative Decree 20/2013
  • Punishes any individual involved in kidnappings and various penalties are imposed depending on motive.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 2, 2013

Economic Criminal Code

Law 3/2013
  • Repeals the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 37/1966.
  • Deals with crimes of an economic nature.
  • A sample of punishable offences listed in this Law include harming public property, wasting public funds, bribery, smuggling, etc.
Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 17, 2013
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 20, 2013

Financial Prosecution Law

Legislative Decree 10/2013
  • Establishes the Financial Prosecution Office (FPO).
  • The FPO is responsible for prosecuting crimes relating to public funds.
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on January 16, 2013