The majority of migrants arriving on Europe’s borders are healthy fighting age iPhone carry young men many of them Syrians fleeing conscription into President Assad’s army.
When the conflict in Syria began more than four years ago, Mustafa Alabi was a 17 yearold soccer whiz who had quit high school to sew clothes in his father’s workshop.
But the war soon consumed his life. The shop burned, and rebels occupied his home in Aleppo. Sheltering with relatives, Mr. Alabi rarely went outside, fearing the army would draft him and send him to the front line.
Then, like many before him, Mr. Alabi fled to Europe, where he landed last month: 22 years old, with a backpack, a ninth grade education and little idea what to do next.
“I have no specific hopes,” he said hesitantly, after struggling to buy bread here because he speaks only Arabic. “But God willing, after I register, if there is a way to play soccer. …” He added, “Maybe I can sew?” NYTimes
4 years of war + Deserters = Depleted Syrian military.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the number of draft dodgers at 70,000, with at least 80,000 Syrian army soldiers and officers killed since the conflict began, Reuters
The Syrian army, one of the region’s largest, has been over stretched by a four-year civil war where it is battling on several major fronts Islamist rebels and ultra-hardline jihadist militants who have seized large swathes of territory. Many young men have fled the country or found ways to avoid conscription. Reuters
“It is all about the future,” said Mohammed Khadra, a Palestinian refugee from Damascus who deserted the Syrain Army and fled to Turkey with $470 zipped into the pocket of his track pants. “There is no life left in Syria.” NYTimes
The Syrian military, depleted by desertions and casualties, at the end of 2014 mobilized reservists and arrested draft dodgers. Before January peace talks proposed by Russia, Syria tightened military recruitment and conscription procedures. Military.com
At the end of July Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “announced an amnesty for men at home and abroad who have dodged conscription, to help bolster the ranks of an army severely depleted by four years of battling armed insurgents.”
The decree, announced on state television, pardons those who violated Syria’s conscription law, an offense punishable by imprisonment and sometimes death. It underscores the government’s difficulty in mobilising men to help fight a protracted war in the face of a bloody insurgency…
Although defense experts say the amnesty could encourage the draft dodgers to enlist, others say it may not be enough to attract young men opposed to the war.Reuters
With a manpower shortage in the Syrian military a reliance is growing on pro-government militias and foreign fighters.
The army has become increasingly reliant on pro-government militias recruited in state-controlled provinces that are offered lucrative pay to fight alongside the regular army…
With no end in sight to the war, the Syrian army’s manpower shortages have been underlined in recent months by a growing reliance on foreign fighters.
Iranian military support for Assad has come in the form of backing for the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Assad’s forces in the war, the deployment of Iranian military advisers and the mobilisation of Shi’ite fighters from elsewhere in the Middle East Reuters
The healthy iPhone carrying young men swarming into Europe from Syria are not refugees fleeing conflict or persecution, many are military deserters and draft dodgers.