Young Syrian men residing in regime-held areas are willing to evade military service by all possible means, with many attending protest demonstrations despite the fact most of them support the regime.
After four years of war, regime forces have suffered immense losses. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, over 80,000 pro-regime fighters – including 47,000 soldiers – have been killed in the conflict.
George, a Christian student from Damascus, says: "I support the regime, but I evaded recruitment because the military service in Syria means death".
"Very few young men accept the recruitment because young men our age do not want to die", George added.
The regime focuses on the recruitment of young Druze, Christians, Alawites and Ismailis as the areas under the regime's control are predominantly Sunni.
These communities feel they pay a high price to support the survival of President Bashar al-Assad.
Human rights activist in the Alawite stronghold of Lattakia, Sama Nassar, says: "Though people in pro-regime areas support the army, only a minority of them wish to join the military service".
Director of Oklahoma University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies Joshua Landis believes that in parallel with the war of attrition in Syria, the regime is obliged to exercise more coercion in order to replenish the ranks of their army.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer