SYRIA: draft evaders and defectors offered amnesty, in an attempt to bolster military

At the end of July, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad announced an amnesty for Syrian men who have previously evaded conscription to the military – an offence punishable by imprisonment or, in some cases, death. After four years of war the Syrian military's ranks are depleted, with some estimating that, due to deaths and defections the size of the military has been halved since 2011. Defectors now abroad have two months to return, those still inside Syria have one month – there were no details given for draft evaders.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that at least 70,000 men had evaded conscription to the military since March 2011.

For more information, see:

Telegraph, 'Assad announces amnesty for Syrian draft dodgers to bolster army', July 2015: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11763505/Assad-announces-amnesty-for-Syrian-draft-dodgers-to-bolster-army.html

Middle East Eye, 'Assad grants draft dodgers, defectors: Syrian state media', July 2015: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/assad-grants-amnesty-draft-dodgers-defectors-syrian-state-media-1558693144