With the Assad army’s ranks depleted by casualties and rampant draft-dodging, a new campaign in the war-torn country is urging citizens to enlist. In recent weeks, billboards have sprung up across Damascus reading “Join the Army.”
Monitoring groups said that a growing number of Syrians have been reluctant to show up for mandatory 18-month military service, with up to 70,000 failing to enlist.
The combination of casualties, defections, and draft-dodging has seen Assad’s 300,000 strong military halved in size since he unleashed a relentless war on Syrians in March 2011.
Secretary General of the Syrian Coalition Mohammed Yahya Maktabi urges Syria’s young men to refrain from enlisting in Assad’s militias, stressing that the Assad regime has become a puppet for the Iranians who have projects unrelated to the integrity of Syria’s territory or the unity of its people.
Maktabi confirmed that regime forces are now receiving orders from officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and from commanders of the Hezbollah militia. He pointed out that the Assad regime is still gambling with the lives of civilians and military personnel to cling to the throne, and has recently stepped up efforts to recruit military-aged men living in the areas under its control in light of the severe shortages of manpower. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)