About 800,000 men are expected to benefit from the latest circular issued by the defence ministry
Syrian military clears men wanted for extra military service
The Syrian military has issued a new circular discharging individuals called up for reservist military service and dropping penalties against those who dodged extra military duty, according to a Syrian legislation database.
The Syrian Law Journal says the circular issued by Defence Minister, Gen Ali Abdullah Ayoub, is part of Syria’s General Amnesty Law, otherwise known as Legislative Decree 18/2018, which was announced by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad this month. The decree grants amnesty for men who deserted the army or have avoided military service, giving them several months to report for duty without facing punishment.
The latest circular, which was forwarded to the Ministry of Interior and the Military Police on October 28, prohibits the arrest of individuals who evaded reservist military service and drops names of those wanted for active duty, the SLJ said on Twitter on Monday night.
An estimated 800,000 men, both inside and outside Syria, are expected to benefit from the latest decision, the SLJ said.
Syrian law requires 18 to 21 months of mandatory military service for Syrian men aged between 18 and 42. However, those who have already completed compulsory military duty can still be recalled for active duty in the event of war or a state of emergency.
In 2014, the Syrian army started to call on more men to return to the army to serve extra military time, leading many to flee the country because they feared being conscripted.
Those who try to evade military service face imprisonment, hefty fines or forced conscription.
The latest circular coincides with increased calls by Russia and the Syrian regime on refugees to return home.
The SLJ on Monday said that the circular has been sent to the country's border control authorities to facilitate the entry of Syrians outside the country who are wanted for extra military time.
While the circular clears those who are wanted for extra military service, it does not cover Syrians who fought against the government or joined the rebels.