Syria issues amnesty for missed military service

Thousands of men are wanted by the state after refusing to fight or joining rebel groups

epa07077239 A handout photo made available by Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)  shows Syrian President Bashar Assad (L) chairing a meeting of the Central Committee of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party in Damascus, Syria, 07 October 2018. According to SANA, Assad said the 'Idleb agreement' was a temporary measure through which the state has achieved many gains and foremost stemming bloodshed, noting that this province and other Syrian territory will return to the Syrian state.  EPA/SANA HANDOUT  EPA-EFE/SANA HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Powered by automated translation

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad  has signed a decree granting amnesty to all those who deserted the military, did not follow conscription notices or follow military orders during to the country's civil war.

The state-run SANA news agency reported on Tuesday that Al Assad had issued the amnesty order but  said that it would only be valid if those wanted by the state handed themselves in within four months if they were in Syria, or six months if they were outside the country.

Tens of thousands of Syrian men wanted by the state for not serving in the military or deserting the army during the long and bloody conflict. Many fear returning to Syria due to the threat of arrest and imprisonment.

Despite previous amnesty announcements, or processes for people to  appease the government by paying a fine, many fear that they will not be applied in all cases.

Hundreds of refugees living in Lebanon have returned to Syria this year under a system run by the country’s General Security.

All those who​ ​​​​​​apply to go have their names checked against Syrian databases of wanted people to ensure that no one returning is unsafe to do so. However, there have been reports of arrests of recent returnees for issues such as skipping military service or supporting the revolution.

In the early days of the war, there were mass desertions from the army as many joined the rebels or refused to fight.


Read more: 

Syrians in ex-rebel zones left isolated after aid groups forced to withdraw

Bashar Al Assad says Russia-Turkey Idlib deal is ‘temporary’

Syria’s new religious bill angers Assad loyalists