Syria shortens military service
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