Syrian regime forces have started an unprecedented mandatory recruitment campaign, calling up most men over 18 years old for military service, even if they have official documents to postpone service or have been newly notified, activists reported.
An eyewitness revealed that he saw around 400 young men in the military police centre in Homs, and nearly the same number in the “Balona” prison in the city. Many of them were from the Alawite sect, waiting to be taken for military service, the eyewitness reported.
One activist told Zaman al-Wasl that even the “only son” could now be called up and taken to military service, which is an unprecedented move.
Observers explained the regime’s campaign aims to substitute those soldiers killed in prolonged and intense fighting all over Syria, while others think that it aims to fill the gap which was left after the Iraqi Shiite militias moved to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.
Sources revealed that many Alawite families preferred to send their sons to Jabal Mohsen, the Alawite majority area in Tripoli, Lebanon, and some men have even hidden themselves away in mountains of other abandoned areas.
Observers believe that the Alawite people are reluctant to serve in the Syrian army, because the Syrian regime does not prioritise them in prisoner exchange operations with the opposition or other factions, and prefers to free other Iranian or Lebanese Shiite fighters.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer