Conscription begins in Kurdish region of Syria, evasion elsewhere
The Kurdish autonomous administrations in Syria have adopted a law in July that obliges families living in the region to send one of their 18-30 year-old members to "defence duty", which lasts for six months, either continuously or intermittently over one year.
The seventh article of the law reads "Those, who refuse to give the defense service and to join in defense of country, will be face disciplinary measures". One refuser, Bassam, fled to Turkey but was captured by Turkish soldiers, beaten and sent back.
Rojava, known also as Syrian Kurdistan or Western Kurdistan (in Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê) is a de facto autonomous region in the north of Syria.
Elsewhere in Syria, oppositionist and other draft evaders are avoiding the regime's conscription. For those whose names have been circulated by the authorities, movement is extremely restricted as they try to avoid being recognised at checkpoints. Those arrested are detained.
The Future of Syria: Refugee Children in Crisis highlighted the story of two Syrian girls who face statelessness. Their father is currently detained for evading military service, and their mother fled Syria whilst pregnant for Jordan.
Many draft evaders try to flee. Syrian authorities do not issue any figures or statistics on the number of people dodging military service, and prohibit any institution and independent body from reporting these types of statistics. However one media report in January claimed that 5,000 men from Tartus failed to report for military service.
- Syria Deeply, YPG's Mandatory Military Service Rattles Kurds
- AL Monitor, Pro-regime Syrians take risks to dodge draft, 28 July 2014
Middle East Eye, Syrian Kurds Introduce Controversial Conscription Law, 22 July 2014
Ara News, Conscription Law: PYD calls on Syria Kurds to ‘defend dignity’, 19 July 2014
- Dicle News Agency, Rojava to defend itself with this law, 15 July 2014
UNHCR, The Future of Syria: Refugee Children in Crisis, November 2013. p. 57, 'At Risk of Statelessness'