Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has a problem — even the guys legally obliged to join the military aren't doing it.
So he's offering incentive, promising to give regime soldiers an extra 10,000 Syrian pounds, or $37, and one hot meal a day, AP reported. That's in addition to the salary of 14,000-30,000 Syrian pounds ($53-$111) Reuters estimated.
It sounds like minuscule pay in a hopeless war. But let's put things in perspective. What can $37 buy in Syria?
In March 2014 residents told Syria Deeply an average Syrian needs about 4,700 pounds a month for food. Back then it was $32, now it's $17. The Syrian pound's value has dropped in the gutters, salaries aren't significantly changing, so food exports are only getting more expensive.
The salary bonus might mean being able to feed one more member of your family. A soldier's pay is cutting it too close for comfort in a family of four — and many Syrian families have more.
If you take a look at the big picture, it still doesn't look good. You can't blame the men for shirking their military duty.