You may have heard about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's struggle to recruit soldiers in his fight against opposition forces and Daesh (ISIS), but a new document released from inside the government highlights the extent of the problem.
A document allegedly leaked from the Assad regime that circulated on Arabic websites earlier this week said 686 army soldiers are wanted from the western village of Qardaha, Assad's hometown, after they defected. The list of troops includes key leadership of government forces and, allegedly, men from the Assad family itself.
The list of the troops also includes 319 core commanders in charge of infantries, tanks and missile launches.
The story follows reports that Assad is running low of soldiers and trying to incentivize people to join the Syrian army with a pay raise. While military duty is obligatory in Syria for men, many haven't served and dodged the draft despite the government's crackdown on evaders. Some became part of the country's displaced population, resorting to refuge in Lebanon to avoid having to fight.
Qardaha, in the mountains overlooking regime stronghold Latakia, is a key location for the conflict and the hometown of the Assad clan — begging the question of whether the president can even keep support from his family.
By Hayat Norimine
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