Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Fueling Onslaught, Syria’s Regime Constrains Draft Rules to Increase Youth Conscription | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syria’s long-time despot Bashar al-Assad chats with military personnel during his visit to a military site in the town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Damascus- In an effort to escape the Syrian regime’s compulsory military drafting, which would see him tossed at frontlines of bloody battles fought by authoritarian Bashar Al-Assad against his people, a young male self-mutilated in a vivid public display which left Syrians in shock.

A young man, in his 20’s, hurled naked into the streets of Aleppo and single-handedly maimed his genitals while loudly renouncing his manhood. “I’m not a man, I’m a woman!,” he cried at the top of his lungs with blood gushing down his thighs.

The horrific incident followed recently passed string of stringent drafting measures ordered by the regime as it aims to fortify its fronts in the brutal civil war ripping Syria apart. After six-years of onslaught, losing troops, and with an exhausted artillery, Assad’s regime deploys young recruits to fight at frontlines.

Andrew Tabler, an expert on Syrian affairs, says Assad seems to have failed to increase numbers. One indication is a string of failures on the battlefield, and the huge push to get more cannon fodder. The other is the extent to which draft-dodging has helped fuel the refugee crisis as men try to escape conscription.

Social media platforms were set on fire with footage circulated of the 20 year-old’s actions, jumping around the streets covered in blood while bystanders stood in shock at what was happening before them.

A number of assumptions were cast around the motive which led to the accident– the young man was a university student allegedly suffering from psychological disorders and who had completely collapsed when stopped by a military patrol to be taken to serve in the military reserve .

Apparently, the university student found no alternative way to escape the situation but the sever lengths he resorted to.

The majority of Syrians feel Assad’s regime is engaged in a futile and vicious war and is indiscriminately sending their children to fuel it. Some concerned parents phrased the current regime actions of being directly responsible for “serving their children to a free death”.

Every day there are merciless new measures to conscript youth and amend draft laws to include a wider array of the social fabric.

The last of these amendments was the forced drafting of university students, who formerly were exempted from military service until they complete their academic studies.

In a letter issued last month by the directorates, official requests were made on narrowing down the criteria on legal absolution for youths serving at the military reserve. One of the requests was annulling scholastic immunity which provides a leeway for students to postpone serving at the army.