New decision by Syrian Defense Ministry raises concerns among civilians

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A Free Syrian Army fighter sits on a sofa inside a house in Deir ez-Zor. File photo

ARA News 

Damascus, Syria – The General Directorate of military recruitment in Syria issued a decision on Saturday, banning men who haven’t served in the regime’s army from leaving the country. 

All branches of immigration and passports across the country began the implementation of the newly issued decision.

According to Syrian officials, the Ministry of Defense has requested the issuance of such a decision in order to prevent Syrian men –including those who haven’t performed their compulsory military service, as well as those wanted for service in the military reserves– from leaving the country.  

“We’re only allowed to travel abroad with official approval from the Recruitment Division,” a young Syrian man based in Damascus told ARA News.

In the meantime, the Directorate of Education in Aleppo issued a decision saying that the Syrian state’s employees must prove status of their compulsory service; “otherwise their salaries will be suspended”. This is to be implemented from January 2015 on. 

Speaking to ARA News in Aleppo, journalist Suleiman al-Masri said that two days before the issuance of the decision, the security forces raided the regime-held neighborhoods of Aleppo and arrested several young men and took them for reservation duty (additional compulsory service). 

“The security personnel arrested several men in the Martini and al-Furqan neighborhoods. This caused a state of panic among the youth in Aleppo,” al-Masri said.

“A mass displacement among young people is expected in the coming days,” al-Masri argued. “People may leave the regime-held areas of Aleppo towards Turkey.” 

Noteworthy, similar decisions have been issued by the Syrian Ministry of Defense in the past, but were not strictly applied. Syrian men in the regime-held areas fear forced involvement in the ongoing fighting. 

 

Reporting by: Adel Hassan

Source: ARA News

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