Reconstruction-induced land and property restitution in post-war Syria: The problem with sanctions

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This article is featured in ORIENT IV 2020

Western sanctions on reconstruction in Syria present an obstacle to the return of forcibly dislocated populations and the restitution of their housing, land and property. With little chance of affecting political concessions, sanctions do however have significant repercussions on restitution by amplifying opportunities for expropriation, unrest and a continuation of the regional and European refugee crises. This article examines new how specific forms of reconstruction can induce restitution, and argues that Western sanctions need realignment toward a realistic form of recovery.
John D. Unruh is a professor in the Department of Geography at McGill University in Montreal. He has over 25 years experience in developing and implementing research, policy and practice on war-affected land and property rights in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and has published widely on these topics. His specialty is housing, land and property (HLP) restitution claims in war-affected scenarios. Most recently he has assisted the UN in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
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