What Is the Need for a Second Industrial Zone in Jableh?

In the predominantly Alawite coastal city of Jableh, in the Lattakia Governorate, the City Council announced last week that it had completed all preparations for launching a new industrial zone project within the city, despite the existence of another industrial zone on its outskirts.

The council’s head announced that all work and preparations had been completed to begin carrying out the new industrial zone project, which will specialise in light and medium manufacturing. He added that the council will provide alternative housing for those impacted by the land acquisition for the new industrial zone, in cooperation and agreement with the Ministry of Defence’s Military Construction Establishment, which will start building the housing in early 2021.

The City Council is promoting the project, saying that it will play a large role in advancing economic growth, and that it will provide employment opportunities and contribute to the provision of services and goods to residents. The council also touted the project’s environmental benefits, as it will rid residential areas at the heart of the city of the pollution and noise caused by industrial facilities.

The new industrial zone will be located inside Jableh city, north of the new yarn factory, and will occupy 13.1 hectares of agricultural and real estate land. In 1995, the Jableh City Council placed a sign for expropriation on the properties, and then in 2001 it issued a decree to expropriate the land. The expropriation decree was issued in 2011 in favour of the Ministry of Local Administration.

The City Council formed a committee in 2015 to appraise the initial value of the expropriated real estate, which the body then appraised at SYP 392-873 per square meter of land. This caused property owners to object to what they said was massive prejudice in the appraisal. In 2017, the Lattakia Governorate decided to form a committee to reevaluate the initial estimate, which ended with a decision to keep the prices unchanged.

Then, in 2018, the council issued a warning to those occupying the expropriated properties to vacate immediately, before it finalised paying compensation. The council began legal proceedings in May 2020, transferring ownership of the expropriated properties and referring the file of the expropriated area to the Ministry of Public Works and Housing’s General Company for Studies and Technical Consultation, to prepare the necessary engineering studies.

The City Council announced that the total amount set aside for compensating owners of the expropriated properties, including housing, trees, greenhouses, and artesian wells, is SYP 123 million.

Residents also objected to the appraisals of the alternative housing offered to them, which were set according to current market prices, while compensation for their expropriated properties was made at the 2015 prices. In addition, they objected to the quarter of the real estate that would be taken without compensation in accordance with the Expropriation Law No. 20 of 1983.