Bashar al-Assad’s conscription directorate has issued a huge number of conscription notices, while Syrians have been arbitrarily pushed into the army, all of which has raised questions about how the Defence Ministry is constructing its lists of those wanted for reserve service. It has become so bad, that even the dead are starting to be affected.
About a week ago, the Assad regime intensified its efforts to pull Syrians into reserve service in the areas under its control, in addition to increasing the number of notifications that are sent to Syrians’ homes informing them of the need to join Assad’s army.
Pro-regime social media pages have recorded strange cases of Syrians being notified of the need to sign up for reserve service, with these pages describing the actions of the conscription directorate as “insanity.” This has stirred anger directed against the regime in the areas under its control because of the lack of basic living essentials such as gas, fuel, water and electricity.
The strange notification cases included a man in al-Qardaha, who was called up for reserve service, despite being 52 years old. The pro-regime “Syria Moment by Moment News Network” said that a call for reserve service was also received by a 50-year-old financial manager.
Even the dead have not been spared from the reserve lists issued by the conscription directorate, according to “Tartous Direct”, a pro-Assad page, a first lieutenant who was serving at the Kuweires airbase received a notice despite having been killed five years ago.
In November, someone posted on Facebook an image of a reserve notification for his brother who has been dead for three years. The man, named Mohamed Abou al-Nassr Jumaa, said, “Where’s the wisdom of sending reserve calls to martyrs? Is our state so secure that it believes martyrs are alive and need to sacrifice themselves again?”
Other stories of the “insanity” include regime loyalist Facebook pages discussing a fighter in the regime army who was wounded in Deir ez-Zor and then transferred to a hospital in Damascus. A section of his intestines was removed and his stomach was wounded by shrapnel. His intestines were placed in a plastic bag outside his body for six months.
After the soldier appealed to the medical council, it decided to demobilize him because he was more than 80 percent disabled. However after he completed the procedures, he was called for reserve service, and then sent to Deir ez-Zor, according to the same sources. The soldier is still there while he waits for permission from the medical council to review the issue of his military service.
The “Reserve Calls and Demobilization from the Conscription Directorate News” social media page has discussed a state of arbitrary calls for military service, with the page saying that, “A large number of soldiers who have been performing reserve service for over a year were surprised when they were notified that they needed to sign up for the service, despite them currently being enrolled.”
The page, which publishes accurate information about the reserve lists issued by the conscription directorate, explained the errors by saying, “The crux of the problem is that all the names in previous calls were re-requested from the records directorate without any correction, which is also why people who have been martyred have been requested to serve.”
Preparation for a Major Battle
The huge reserve calls issued by the regime conscription directorate has reached the attention of international newspapers. For example, on Tuesday, the British paper, The Times, said that hundreds of Syrians have been forced by the regime to join the ranks of its forces in preparation for another attack on Idleb, the last opposition stronghold in northern Syria.
The paper said in its report that hundreds of Syrian men have been gathered together and forced to join the army’s ranks. This measure also comes after a broad campaign against those who have fled military service.
Residents of Damascus and Aleppo and north of Deir ez-Zor said that regime forces are inspecting the ID papers of individuals at checkpoints against a list of names of those wanted as reservists and for military service.
The paper said that eastern Ghouta is one of the main areas to have seen a major wave of arrests recently, despite pro-Assad journalists denying that regime forces have raided homes searching for those who have fled compulsory or reserve service.
The newspaper closed its report saying, that according to the deal reached in September, Russia and the regime promised not to carry out any assault on Idleb, although the Russian Foreign Minister yesterday described Idelb as, “still being a stronghold for terrorists and a legitimate target of the Syrian regime.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.