Returning Syrians now have to pay customs on personal belongings

Cash-strapped Syrian regime force returnees to pay customs on personal belongings
2 min read
18 May, 2021
A customs law that exempted Syrians from paying customs duties has been abolished, adding another barrier for financially limited Syrians wanting to return.
Millions of Syrians fled the country to escape the war [Getty]

The Syrian regime announced on Sunday that nationals returning to the war-torn country will be required to pay customs duties on personal belongings. 

Prime Minister Hussein Arnous announced that Article 178 of Customs Law 4412 would be abolished, according to the website Emaar Syria

Article 178 of Customs Law 4412 stated that Syrians returning home to permanently reside in Syria would be exempt from paying customs duties on personal belongings and household furniture. 

The move will add further financial pressure on Syrians who have chosen to return home. 

Since the war erupted in 2011, millions of Syrians fled the country with many seeking refuge in neighbouring Turkey and Lebanon.

Many refugees are living in dire poverty due to a lack of access to employment opportunities and schooling. 

Returning Syrians will now be forced to pay duties on furniture, personal belongings, tools, personal gifts, and travel items intended for personal use. Cars will be exempt from the new rules. 

The new law applies to goods that have been purchased abroad and also items that were originally bought in Syria. 

Perspectives

With the Syrian regime now control of 60 percent of the country, widespread fighting has ceased in many areas, prompting some to consider returning to their homes given the dire economic situation in their host countries.

Activists say that most refugees are not considering a return, fearing possible detention and torture on their return, with the Syrian regime said to be suspicious about those who fled the country. 

The regime has been keen to make money from returnees given the economic slump in Syria. 

In July 2020, the regime issued a decree stating that returnees must first exchange $100, or another approved currency, into Syrian pounds before entering the country. 

The move was seen as an attempt by the regime to secure hard currency, amid a failing economy, a highly devalued currency, and crippling sanctions imposed by foreign powers.