For the past two weeks, the Assad regime has stepped up its campaign of mass arrest of young men in Damascus for recruitment in the Syrian army.
Regime soldiers said via the "We want to be laid off" Facebook page that according to the information, regime forces have arrested around 7,000 young men from Damascus, forcing them to fight within the army’s ranks, adding that the figure is expected to increase in the coming days.
According to sources in Damascus, hundreds of young men were arrested even though many had completed their mandatory service years ago. The sources confirmed that detainees have returned dead only days after their arrest at military checkpoints, as many were immediately sent to serve on the fronts in Deir-ez-Zor, where the regime recently launched an offensive on Islamic State positions.
Al-Souria Net recently published a decree issued by the Ministry of Defense and delivered to government agencies and institutions urging these institutions to provide the defense ministry with lists of male workers and employees in state ministries whose age ranges between 18 to 46 years.
It seems more cases of arrest will continue in Damascus over the coming days, as an anonymous Syrian army officer recently told pro-regime media: "There is a list of certain names of those are wanted to serve in the reserve army and the campaign will continue until they are all arrested.”
The arrest campaign follows a significant shortage of forces in the regime army, which has tried to compensate by recruiting male youths from Damascus en mass to serve on the country’s ‘hot fronts’.
The rebel faction Army of Islam published yesterday images of military IDs belonging to youths – some only children – recruited by the regime, who were killed in fighting near the Damascus-Homs international highway. The soldiers were said to have been born between 1997 and 1999.
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.