AANES adopts amendments to conscription laws

A batch of SDF fighters graduated in al-Hasakah province - August 3, 2021 (SDF)

A batch of SDF fighters graduated in al-Hasakah province - August 3, 2021 (SDF)


The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has approved amendments to the “Self-Defense Duty” law (mandatory conscription) in its controlled areas, regarding the deferment of service for doctors and rural workers, in addition to other modifications related to fines.

AANES, today, Thursday, February 22, stated that some amendments were made to the law during the General Council meeting held in September 2023.

Article 6 of the law was amended regarding the amount of fines related to the punishment for losing the military service booklet, imposing a fine of 15,000 Syrian pounds for the first loss, 60,000 for the second time, and 120,000 for the third time, with referral to the military judiciary in the latter case.

In case of damage to the military service booklet, the holder must pay a financial penalty of 15,000 Syrian pounds for the first time, 30,000 for the second time, and 60,000 for the third time.

Other fines were stipulated in case the pages of the service booklet ran out.

The amendments specified a certain age to allow for educational deferment for each educational stage separately. For example, a master’s student can postpone military service until he reaches 32 years of age, and he is not entitled to deferment after this age, even if he has not finished his studies, among other educational branches.

A new article numbered “30,” was added to the law, stating that doctors and pharmacists who graduated and are committed to rural service have their military service postponed for a full year, provided that the applicant’s age does not exceed 30 years, and he is entitled to a two-year postponement only.

The law maintained most of its provisions, considering military service compulsory for males upon reaching 18 years of age, while it is voluntary for females in the Autonomous Administration controlled areas, according to the law.

Mandatory conscription was implemented by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), following the Duhok agreement in 2014, which emerged after a meeting of Kurdish parties in Duhok, Iraq, in an attempt to reach a formula of understanding to manage the region.

Amendments were made to the law in 2018, including the deferment of university students, the only child according to the mother’s age, and the amendments applied to families of the deceased, and those who have siblings in Internal Security Forces (Asayish) and the YPG.

The conscription law took its final form on June 23, 2019, when AANES adopted a new law consisting of 35 articles, making it similar to the Syrian regime’s mandatory military service law and named “Duty of Self-Defense.”

The SDF defines a deserter in the Self-Defense Duty Law as a fighter who has been absent for 15 consecutive days after joining, while the full period of service lasts 12 months.

According to the Self-Defense law, mandatory military service is imposed on males who have reached 18 years of age, and females have the right to join voluntarily (non-mandatory service).


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