During the past few days, mortar fire and arbitrary detentions were not the main source of concern for Syrian youth. A new nightmare has emerged wherein Syrian authorities started a crackdown on youth who have performed their compulsory military service, and they are forcing them to join the Syrian army as “backup” forces. The authorities did not declare these measures out of fear that the youth would consequently flee or hide.

All those who are of age for compulsory backup service are afraid, especially after many young men in Damascus and other Syrian areas have been arrested by the Syrian security forces to perform this service. The only solution is to leave the country before one’s name is circulated between security personnel at military checkpoints as a wanted individual.

Oct. 14 was not a lucky day for 27-year-old Ayman. Ayman received a call from one of the military branches in Damascus and was told to immediately join the recruitment department that he belongs to in al-Midan area. Ayman, who works as a journalist, performed his military service in 2010. As soon as he received the call, he did not hesitate to pack his bags to flee the country. […]