No to Military Reserve and Volunteers

22 July 2013

Bees of the Coast, which is active on the Syrian coast, launched the No to Military Reserve and Volunteers campaign in December 2012 in order to raise awareness among Alawite youth, to prevent them from enlisting in the military upon being drafted.

The regime’s need for soldiers has been growing as a result of defections from the Syrian Arab Army, and the increasing intensity of battles in the country that has resulted in many casualties. Therefore, the army is heavily recruiting people to join its ranks. An activist said to Syria Untold, “The regime is arbitrarily recruiting young men from the Syrian coast to the military reserve. People of all ages are included in the draft, but especially university students.”

Many areas that rose up against the regime are no longer under Assad control, making it unable to recruit people from those areas. As a result, the regime has been recruiting soldiers from the Syrian coast and other areas populated by religious minorities. Residents of these areas have started complaining, as the men are returning home wrapped in shroud. The Bees of the Coast movement has written messages such as, “Why do you think you are not allowed to open the casket of your martyred son?” and “They give you money and weapons in exchange for your identity cards. They are not honoring you, they are using you as a scapegoat.”

In their widespread awareness campaign, activists distributed leaflets and pictures, such as one of an extended palm with the message “A Free Alawite - No to Military Reserve and Volunteers.”

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted one activist as saying, “Many residents of Alawite villages express displeasure with the regime’s policy of recruiting their sons to the military after they had already completed their service. These men are participating in battle against the armed opposition, and are being returned to their families in closed caskets.”

Another activist added, “Some villages have become void of young men. There are only elderly men and children.”

Find out more on Bees of the Coast’s Facebook page


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad