Autonomous Administration’s Military Service Recruitment Campaign Targets Young Men Born In 2001

Self-Defense Forces in SDF-controlled city of Qamishli, October 2018 (Protection and Self-Defense Authority)

Self-Defense Forces in SDF-controlled city of Qamishli, October 2018 (Protection and Self-Defense Authority)


In the east of Euphrates, the Autonomous Administration (AA) is distributing leaflets, demanding that the area’s young people perform the compulsory military service, even those born in 2001.

The lists, published by  the local Euphrates Post network, on Thursday, September 19, defined the target group of the forced conscription campaign, who are to join the ranks of the Self Defense Forces (SDF), by men born between 1986 and 2001.

The young men, mandated to perform military service, are those born between January 1986 and April 2001 in the regions of Jazira and Euphrates. In Manbij, however,  those born between January 1988 and April 2001 are to be summoned while the target group in Raqqa is limited to those born between January 1990 and April 2001.

The recruitment campaign begins on September 15 and ends on January 2020.

Last June, the AA, in northeastern Syria, ratified the law of compulsory recruitment, called “duty of self-defense” which consists of 35 articles that name the conditions of military service.

The 35-article law of recruitment covers the following dimensions of military service:  enrollment in military service, deferral, and exemption, as well as rules governing the affairs of those obliged to perform military service and those already on duty of self-defense in the AA areas.

The  Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) set the length of the mandatory military service at 12 months according to the Self-Defense Law, where the eligibility age is 18. Those who failed to perform the military service, the law indicates,  must join the SDF before turning 40 years old.

Additionally, the law indicates that young men of the eligibility age, let them by Syrian citizens, stateless or foreigners, who have been living in the area for more than five years are also liable to military service.

The AA faced a popular rejection of forced recruitment in the areas it holds since the outset of imposing the recruitment law on civilians in al Jazira Canton, as named by the AA, in late 2014.

However, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) considers the military service a moral responsibility and social duty toward the community.

In August 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report, indicating that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) recruited children to fight within its ranks, adding that among the child soldiers were children displaced with their families to camps controlled by the YPG.



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