Investigations | 29 Dec 2014

Samer received a call from his Damascus district police department, by means of which he was informed that there was a telegram under his name from the Army Recruitment Division, calling upon him to join the reserve forces in the regime's army.

Samer tells Rozana: "When the policeman asked if I was Samer I said I was Samer's father. He informed me of the cable's subject, and that he will come soon after to hand-deliver it at the house. I immediately prepared my necessary items, and I called the travel office to go to Beirut."

The young man describes with a certain distress, how joyed he had been upon being discharged from the army during the crisis. He had never expected that after two years of having completed his compulsory service, he would be called back to the army.

He adds: "I lost my job, and all that I had previously built in Syria. I was about to get married, but now everything has changed. This became an impossibility."

His Dream Were Crushed

Rozana met with another young man who had not yet performed his compulsory service. The 26-year-old says: "In 2010 I received a scholarship for a Master's abroad in favor of the University of Damascus. I returned to Syria during the crisis after I finished my studies, and was appointed Assistant Lecturer at the University of Damascus."

He says that he tried to obtain a service deferral, even going to the lengths of offering to pay 400 thousand Syrian Pounds to secure such, but to no avail. As a state employee, he is not entitled to receive the Travel Permit issued by the Recruitment Division. This forced him to flee to Lebanon, after obtaining of a two-day leave from his place of work. He remains in Beirut.

According to Omar, his friends who are state employees have received their reservist calls, despite having concluded their military service.

Mohab confirms, that the decision to call up state employees to perform reserve duty has now become more forcefully enforced. He has often heard of employees who were taken from their work, without even receiving prior notice.

He comments on this issue: "We had barely taken our breaths, graduating and finishing our military service, and secured a government job; only to go back to compulsory service! Anyone who enters is as good as missing... 90% of those who go are doomed to certain death!"

Lists With 12 Thousand Names

A source inside the Recruitment Division in Damascus, told of lists containing 12 thousand names to be called up for reserve duty from Damascus. Notifications started since the beginning of last month, with copies of these lists distributed to some of the key [regime] checkpoints; as well as instructions to People's Committees [pro-regime militias] to carry out raids on homes, to apprehend those whose names are on these lists. Noting that all the names are for persons under 42 years of age.

According to another source inside the regime-affiliated People's Committees, these Committees had been instructed to run vehicles belonging to the security and the Baath militias, roaming the capital's neighborhoods in search of those wanted for army reserve duty.

Also noted in Damascus, was the spread of buses belonging to security, particularly in Marjah Square, near the Bab-Srijeh and al-Midan quarters, as well as areas where the main Bus depots are. Security forces stand at a distance from the buses, stopping passers-by, especially young men.

Anwar tells Rozana, that a People's Committees volunteer whom he knows advised him to stay away from busy places; as there is a big chance for ad-hoc checkpoints that may pop up, to aprehend those who are wanted for military or reserve duty.

Another persistent rumour that made the rounds of several websites, based on information from 'knowledgable sources,' that the General Mobilization Department of the regime government's Ministry of Defense had "issued a decree, in coordination with the Department of Immigration and Passports, to prevent a large segment of young Syrian men from leaving the country, and be taken directly to their mandatory military service."

According to informed sources, the travel ban affects young people born between 1985 and 1991.

Calls for Draft-Dodging

In a move that reflects wide dissatisfaction among the Syrian people over the calling up of young men to the regime's army, "the Syrian Alawite Assembly" recently called upon young men to dodge their reserve military service, and called for the initiation of national reconciliation between all Syrians.

In a statement, the Assembly added that "the death toll among the Alawite sect during this War for the [Assad] Throne, has reached more than 60 thousand, with over 100 thousand wounded and disabled. There remains not a single village on the coast and in the upper [Alawite] mountain who does not grieve one of its sons; there even are entire families whose youth have all perished."

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