Mass Youth Arrests in Damascus to Curb Regime Recruitment Shortage

Young men in the Syrian capital are preferring to remain indoors as regime expands its campaign of forced recruitment

Youths in the Syrian capital, Damascus, are living in an atmosphere of terror and anxiety after arrests for forced recruitment saw a significant increase at regime checkpoints.

Young people in Damascus are preferring to remain indoors, as they know they will end up either dead or injured, according to a Damascus Media Office spokesperson.

"Assad's regime launched a new arrest campaign that targets those wanted by the reserve army. During the last week, many buses packed with young people have been seen in each of the areas of al-Mujtahed, Bab Musalla, Bab Sriejah, Salihiyah, Shalaan, Mazzeh and Kafr Souseh,” the spokesperson added.

Regime forces Monday arrested at least 80 young men at the checkpoint under az-Zahira Bridge, most of whom were born between 1981 and 1987. Detainees were allowed to contact their families and inform them about their recruitment in the regime's army.

Local sources said the regime sends the young men to hotly-contested fronts, resulting in large casualty numbers in most cases.

Witnesses said regime forces also launched an arrest campaign when worshippers were leaving Zaid Bin Thabit mosque in Khalid Bin Waleed street on Friday. Many others were arrested at the entrances of Dweilaa, Jarmana and Kashkoul suburbs.

The media office added that pro-regime areas were also included in the campaign, as activists in Barzeh neighborhood confirmed the arrest of several young men at regime checkpoints throughout the neighborhood.

The Assad regime is following a new approach of mass arrest, where the names of wanted youths are directly delivered to checkpoints in order to prevent them from fleeing the country.

The newly arrested young men are forced to undertake training for only a week in Dimas and ad-Direj before being sent to the fronts.

"Furthermore, the wealthier young men arrested at regime checkpoints would pay up to 20,000 Syrian pound to be released. Thus, the campaign has opened a new door for bribery for regime officers," the media office added.

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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