In a move seen as an attempt to address widespread discontent in the
country, Syrian president Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 35 for
2011 on 19 March 2011 lessening mandatory army conscription from 21
months to 18 months. The decress will come into force on 1 June 2011.
In 2005, military service had been shortened to two years.
The long conscription period has generated discontent, especially among
the youth who resent state tactics to bring them into service, such as
random ID checking, and the withholding of food aid from families whose
members escaped conscription.
Sources: The Independent: Syria mourners call for revolt after deaths, 19 March 2011; DP-News: Legislative Decree reducing mandatory Syrian Military Service, 20 March 2011; ArabicNews, Military services in Syria reduced to two years, 7 January 2005