Legal Market Overview
The ongoing Syrian Civil War continues to put a substantial strain on the country, its people and its economy. As the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad remains subject to numerous trade sanctions, the Syrian pound hit a record low in its exchange rate to the US dollar in September 2019. This crisis, further fuelled by the lack of action from the Syrian Central Bank to support the currency, lead to devaluation and volatile inflation. Apart from sending the Syrian economy on a roller coaster ride, the situation takes its toll on the war-stricken population of Syria, often struggling to afford basic supplies or power.
North-eastern Syria has been suffering from added turmoil since October 2019, when Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched “Operation Peace Spring”. In reaction to US president Donald Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawals from Kurdish territories along the Syrian-Turkish border, the Turkish air force carried out airstrikes on border towns in an effort to expel the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In turn, the Kurdish SDF enlisted the help of the Assad government in Damascus, which then deployed Syrian Army troops to the Northern border. The subsequent power vacuum also called ISIS forces back into action, launching several attacks on the city of Raqqa and nearby prison camps to free affiliated detainees. At the time of writing, SDF troops have withdrawn from the region to comply with a ceasefire agreement. Russian-Turkish military police now patrols the border region.
Under these circumstances, the current state of the legal market in Syria does not come as a surprise: firms such as Sultans Law rely heavily on their offices outside Syria, while some local lawyers have permanently established themselves in other jurisdictions around the world. Active market players based in Damascus include family firms Oussi Law Firm and Sarkis Attorneys at Law as well as International Legal Bureau and IP boutique Tamim Fares Intellectual Property Consultancy & Services.