When the Syrian revolution began in 2011, the regime cut the basic services to all rebellious cities and towns and withdrew all workers in the services sector and local councils in these areas aiming to applying the policy of blockade and preventing food and services from these areas to collectively punish the population, and this led to a number of damages a large number of people in every city or town, and here some activists took the initiative to organize relief work and services in these areas and provide some basic services to those in need, but soon the gap of needs began to expand, to a degree that individuals or small groups can no longer continue providing services and assistance on their own without cooperation and coordination with others, this is where the idea of local councils began to arise.
These councils were run by people and groups that were able to provide their services to more needy people. And most of the material-support was provided by Syrian individuals inside or outside Syria, until the need became greater and the fundraising campaigns started outside Syria, which included individuals and organizations from all near or far countries.
Local councils are the main administrative nucleus in the liberated areas. Given the importance of effective and credible local councils, it is necessary to work on evaluating them in order to develop their efficiency in providing services and managing the local community.
The local councils evolved during the Syrian revolution from the administrative and organizational aspects and its relationship with the local community. After these years have passed since the beginning of its experiment, it has to be studied in a scientific way to extract the lessons learned and develop that experience.
Therefore, the Local Development Organization decided to hold sessions of the Governance and Local Councils Forum to present the experiences of local administration after the revolution in the presence of members of local councils in a number of governorates, and these experiences were discussed in their organizational development process and the most important services they provided and the pros and cons that accompanied their work.
All these factors were existing before the eruption of Syrian revolution in 2011. The management of the state facilities was conducted centrally, and even local councils were nominated by the only ruling party with little authority. These councils were subject to the law 15 issued in1971, which was loosely applied for decades. That is a result of the regime’s unwillingness to activate participation of the local people in managing their affairs and services. When the Syrian revolution began in the spring of 2011, the regime stopped basic services for all towns and cities. All workers in the service sector and local councils in these areas have been disabled within the framework of the application of the siege policy and preventing food and services in these areas to punish the population collectively. After mid-2011, the regime started to lose control so it issued reforming laws as it promised Syrian society to perform several years ago. Then, it issued the 107 decree which contained the Local Administration Act, and it referred to the principle of decentralization of the Syrian laws in it for the first time, but it was not put to implementation as the previous law.
A large number of people in each city or town in the liberated areas were affected by the disruption of services. So, some activists initiated the organizations of relief and service work in these areas and provided some basic services to those in need. However, the scale of needs quickly began to grow, to the point that individuals or small groups can no longer continue to provide services and assistance alone without cooperation and coordination with others. That’s when the idea of local councils started to emerge. These councils were managed by people and groups who were able to provide their services to those in need, most of the finance or in-kind support was provided by Syrian individuals inside or outside Syria until the need became great and campaign of fund-raising started outside Syria.
Local councils represent the main administrative nucleus in the liberated areas. Because of the need of effective and credible local councils, it was necessary to organize them to develop their performance and to empower local communities to be able to manage their affairs, strengthen a culture of community harmony and promote dialog among the components of these communities. This will lead to achieve development, provide the necessary services for citizens and achieve security and stability. In the past few years, unified regulations and rules for local administration have been adopted by the Ministry of Local Administration in the interim Syrian government, and these regulations are based on the laws and regulations already placed in Syria in order to maintain the unity of laws and regulations. Through this report, we will address the main governance aspects of local councils in opposition areas, and how it has developed mainly in some regions of Daraa, Rif Damascus and Aleppo because they represent distinct experiences as a result of the specific circumstances of each region; we will draw on previous studies and reports of central meetings with former workers in local councils.
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