The Director General of the General Administration at the Ministry of Defense, Major General Ahmed Suleiman, addressed key aspects of the recent decree on reserve service for individuals aged 40 and above in a televised interview with Syria TV on Saturday.
A qualitative army based on volunteers
Initially, Major General Suleiman disclosed that substantial efforts are underway to transition towards a qualitative, advanced, and professional army, primarily relying on volunteers. Despite disruptions and delays caused by the ongoing war, a decisive step has been taken to initiate reform within the military institution. This process unfolds discreetly and covertly, avoiding public attention.
The recent amnesty decree for desertion offences, volunteer enlistment calls, and the latest decree concerning individuals failing to meet reserve service obligations were not coincidental. They are part of a strategic initiative aimed at realizing the objective of establishing a high-calibre, advanced, and professional army that heavily depends on volunteers. Those who opt for volunteer service stand to gain significant advantages, including a minimum salary of one million and 300 thousand increases.
For a qualitative and professional volunteer army, rigorous preparation and qualification are imperative, making volunteers the optimal choice. Temporary volunteer contracts also emerge as a favourable option in this context.
Determination of reserve period and expected discharge
In a different context, Major General Suleiman emphasized a comprehensive revision of the reserve concept, indicating that significant changes are imminent. This overhaul, which will be elucidated in the coming days, signals a departure from the current framework. Major General Suleiman stressed that individuals will not be compelled to endure prolonged periods of compulsory service. He unveiled forthcoming amendments, highlighting the potential dismissal of a considerable number of those engaged in reserve service.
Major General Suleiman elaborated, stating, “We have established a concise timetable to limit reserve service duration to a maximum of two years, whether served continuously or intermittently.” Importantly, he clarified that not everyone who completed compulsory service would necessarily be obligated to undertake reserve service, as it may not be required in all cases.
It is noteworthy that President Bashar al-Assad, on December 1st, issued a legislative decree as part of the broader efforts to regulate the state of combat readiness within the armed forces. The decree, directly tied to field conditions and the percentage of those enrolled in compulsory service, allows individuals aged forty and above, who have not yet enrolled in reserve service, to opt for a cash allowance amounting to $4,800 or its equivalent in Syrian pounds as an alternative to fulfilling the legal duty in reserve service.
For those already in reserve service and aged forty or above, the decree permits them to pay the mentioned cash allowance, with a deduction of $200 or its equivalent in Syrian pounds for each month already served in reserve duty.
The Ministry of Defense has recently announced recruitment contracts featuring 5-year and 10-year terms, introducing key provisions to enhance the overall structure of military service commitments.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.