Assad’s forces arrests more young men in rural Damascus for forcible conscription

Nov 22, 2020

The Assad regime's security forces arrested nine young men from the western countryside of Damascus, while they were trying to flee towards Lebanese territory to escape compulsory service with the regime army.

According to SY24’s correspondent in Damascus, “The arrests took place last Thursday and Friday, when the regime’s operatives stationed at a checkpoint in the Rankous area in the Damascus countryside arrested six young men on Thursday and three on Friday, with their names being shown [on a searchlist] as all having failed to perform their mandatory service.”

The SY24 correspondent said that the young men, from the towns of Khanaker, Al-Tal and Zakia, were taken to a security branch in Damascus with no details of their fate known after that, adding that regime security forces carried out a campaign of searches and raids on the homes of the detained youths, during which the regime forces verbally insulted, threatened and abused their family members.

This follows a recent announcement by the regime that it was demobilizing a number of troops and officers; immediately after the announcement, regime forces launched a series of raids in Damascus and the surrounding area to conscript young men for mandatory and reserve military service. This prompted many young men in the area to go into hiding and attempt to escape outside the regime-controlled areas, either fleeing to northern Syria or trying to get to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon or Jordan.

The areas under the Syrian regime’s control in Damascus and its countryside, like others under Assad’s control, are suffering from poor security and lack of services, in addition to constant campaigns of random arrests, especially to conscript young men for compulsory service.

On Saturday, the European Court of Justice announced a decision granting Syrian conscripts fleeing compulsory service with the Syrian regime the right to full asylum in the countries of the European Union, after they were previously only granted the right to protection, with human rights sources believing that this decision would encourage the process of greater defection from the ranks of the regime forces.

It should also be noted that, if apprehended by the regime, defectors from any branch of Assad’s forces are automatically either subjected to immediate extrajudicial execution or imprisoned and usually tortured, then ‘disappeared’ or sent to trial and executed. For those who successfully escape, their remaining family members, including women and children, are often targeted and imprisoned in retaliation.

Report from: SY24
Original (in Arabic):