Syrian regime ends retention and recall of certain military categories

Bashar al-Assad conducts an interview with a Russian media outlet without addressing the Syrian issue on any level - March 3, 2024 (Syrian Presidency/Screenshot)

Bashar al-Assad conducts an interview with a Russian media outlet without addressing the Syrian issue on any level - March 3, 2024 (Syrian Presidency/Screenshot)


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued an “administrative order” today, Saturday, April 27, terminating the recall and retention of certain military personnel starting from the beginning of June.

According to the decree published by the official Syrian news agency (SANA), the order is set to end the recall of reserve officers who have been called up, effective from June 1, 2024, for anyone who has completed a year or more of actual reserve service by May 31.

It also terminates the retention and recall for non-commissioned officers and reserve personnel, who have been retained and called up, from June 1 for anyone who has completed six years or more of actual reserve service by May 31.

This decision follows a similar decree in December of the previous year, which ended the recall for reserve officers who had been called up, and the recall and retention for non-commissioned officers and reserve personnel, under the same criteria. This was in conjunction with calls for volunteering within the ranks of the Syrian regime forces, including a set of incentives for those willing to volunteer under specific contracts.

Previously, on August 16, 2023, the regime issued a similar administrative order, preceded by another on July 17, with specific criteria at a time when the regime was also removing military and security barriers from certain areas of the Syrian capital, Damascus, in efforts to reduce the presence of armed forces. These moves came concurrently with active Arab movements towards reintegrating the regime into the Arab fold.

Syrian military service law does not specify a duration for reserve service or retention of soldiers, nor does the Ministry of Defense disclose the number of conscripts or the details of those retained or serving in the reserves. However, global sites like Global Fire Power estimate their number to be around 150,000.

A researcher at the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, Mohsen Mustafa, previously explained to Enab Baladi that such administrative orders are partially driven by an attempt to alleviate social pressures in areas under the regime’s control, while also unlikely to be sending messages to Arab countries, as the issue largely relates to the personnel continuity within the regime’s army.

According to the researcher, the order for discharge and ending retention does not reflect complete military stability, but rather signifies a state of “sufficiency” with the joining of new conscripts. He expressed doubts that a large number of military personnel would benefit from the decree, as long as it is coupled with conditions that do not apply to everyone.

The current administrative order comes at a time when the region is witnessing military tensions that threaten escalation at a regional level. This was evidently marked by an Israeli target on the Iranian consulate building in Damascus, which was completely destroyed, killing 13 people, including seven Iranians, among them prominent leaders. This was followed by mutual skirmishes between Israel and Iran as part of revenge and retaliation, on April 13.


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