Syria’s Assad amends controversial property law

Syrian President Bashar Assad has issued a decree amending a law that allowed authorities to seize property left behind by civilians who fled the civil war, AP reports. Residents now have a full year instead of one month to prove they own property in redevelopment zones in order to receive shares in the projects, according to the amendment, which was published by state news agency SANA late Sunday. Otherwise, the ownership will be transferred to the local government. The government in Damascus passed Law 10 in April to create “redevelopment zones” to rebuild property damaged in seven years of civil war. Critics had said the initial legislation could discourage refugees from returning.