A source in the Department of Passports and Migration confirmed reports on social media about a decision by the Ministry of Defense, which stipulates the need to obtain “travel approval” from the conscription department for all those between the ages of 17 and 42 when leaving the country.
The decision, which was issued and then implemented immediately without any announcement or prior warning, created a state of confusion at border centers and in the airport, as travellers had only been notified shortly before. Hundreds were prevented from leaving, which caused many to lose reservations and the money they had spent. A number of Facebook pages reported that bus drivers had been prevented from traveling across the border after being surprised by the decision.
In a statement to Al-Watan, the source said that the decision came from the migration department yesterday and then was implemented. The source said that approval from the conscription department is now needed to issue or renew a passport and further approval is needed when leaving the country.
Al-Watan learned from its sources that the decision comes from a decree issued in 2007. Implementation was agreed upon by the Ministry of Defense and the Interior Ministry, but yesterday new instructions arrived calling for the implementation without taking into account the previous understandings that had aimed to ease the affairs of citizens.
The sources believed that it was worth citizens being alerted when a new decision is issued; giving them a deadline to obtain the necessary approvals rather than being returned from the borders and having losses inflicted on them, all of which imposed unnecessary confusion at the border crossings.
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.