Damascus Streets Devoid of Youths as Forced Recruitments Surge

Activists say Damascus city is witnessing an escalation of arrests as the Syrian army suffers an acute shortage of fighters following a series of mass defections

The main streets of Damascus are empty of young men after the Assad regime launched the largest campaign of forced recruitment since the outbreak of the revolution nealry five years ago.

Activists said the majority of passers-by in the streets of the capital and its surrounding areas are women, girls, men over the age of reserve service, school and university students, and the elderly, as well as members of pro-Assad National Defense Force militias.

Opposition activists said the neighborhoods of Damascus city are witnessing an escalation of arrests as the Syrian army suffers an acute shortage of fighters following a series of mass defections. The Syrian Ministry of Defense recently issued a decree to collect 100,000 new fighters, with the list including the names of at least 80,000 young men.

The arrest campaigns included inspections of homes, buses and public spaces, as well as identity inspections at checkpoints. Those wanted for service are immediately taken to recruitment centers.

United Nations sources claim there are currently 4.3 million Syrian refugees in five neighboring countries, in addition to 800,000 refugees in Europe, mostly Syrians, adding that more than 2 million workers have lost their jobs, placing more than 6.4 million people at risk of poverty.

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.

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