Recently, the city of Deir-ez-Zor, which is controlled by the Syrian regime forces and allied Iranian and local militias, has witnessed the spread of a strange phenomenon: the disappearance of young people, aged between 18 and 40, from the local markets, streets, and alleys of the city. This phenomenon is coupled with their disappearance from commercial markets in the cities and towns of the Deir-ez-Zor countryside.
The absence of young people from the local markets coincided with the beginning of the Syrian regime’s periodic campaigns of forced conscription, which take place at this time every year. This forced young people to avoid going out to the markets and to stay at home instead, out of fear of being captured.
Confidential sources told SY-24 that the security services of the Syrian regime, in cooperation with the military police and the National Defense Militia, will conduct joint patrols in the commercial markets and streets of the city in search of wanted people for compulsory service in the regime’s army.
Our sources confirmed that joint patrols will be launched in search of those wanted for compulsory service starting next week. The search and recruitment operations will include all young people between the ages of 18 and 40, who do not have certificates of postponement or exemption from service.
Tarek al-Abdullah, a 26-year-old graduate of the Faculty of Economics who works in a shoe shop in the city, said he “will have to stay at home for several months and will not go to work until the end of the campaign launched by the security forces.”
“We have gotten used to these campaigns for many years. Everyone knows that their purpose is not to conscript young people, but to collect money, royalties, and bribes from parents, in order to refrain from sending their children to perform compulsory service,” the young man said in an exclusive interview with SY-24.
“The process is very simple. It has happened to me last year after I was caught on a street in the city, where the patrol officers asked me to pay 200,000 Syrian pounds immediately for my release. That’s what I did,” he said.
“The poor economic conditions of the families in the city will not allow them to pay bribes in exchange for the release of their children. Some have been forced to volunteer for Iranian militias for fear of being recruited into the Syrian regime’s army. The Syrian regime’s army sends them to fight on the front lines with the Syrian opposition, or to military checkpoints in the Syrian Badia which is controlled by ISIS,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that the Regime-controlled areas in the Deir-ez-Zor governorate are almost devoid of young people. A vast majority of them have fled to SDF-controlled areas, and then from there to Turkey. This flee is the result of the forced recruitment operations that are carried out, and the poor economic conditions faced by them and their families.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.