Fear of Conscription into Syrian Regime Forces, Who Are Involved in Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, is a Major Obstacle Impeding Refugees’ Return
Denmark’s Immigration Service, a directorate within the country’s Ministry of Immigration and Integration, recently released a report on military service in Syria. The aim of the report is to provide the relevant information on military service in the Syrian regime’s army, in order to determine the proper international protection policies, including policies on the refugees’ situation and protection for them.
Released on July 7, 2023, the report draws primarily on evidence provided by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), in summarizing conscription procedures in Syria, including those related to naturalized foreigners. To that end, the report notes that recruitment, both for conscripts and reserve combatants, continues in regime-held areas, with the same conscription procedures followed in all the areas under the regime’s control.
The report also notes that conscripts might be required to be actively involved in hostilities that may constitute violations of international law.
Moreover, the report underscores that fleeing conscripts have been among the groups suffering the highest rates of arbitrary arrests at the hands of Syrian regime forces. In regard to this issue, the report cites SNHR, which further noted that escapees are usually detained by the Syrian regime’s infamous intelligence services, putting them at grave risk of torture and forcible disappearance.