Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Deserters And Draft-Dodgers Flee Syria

New Syrian army recruits carry their plates as they march before heading for their Iftar (breaking fast) meals at a military training camp in Damascus, Syria June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki/File Photo

Reuters: Seeing No Future, Deserters And Draft-Dodgers Flee Syria

Nasser lifts another cigarette to his mouth with a scarred left hand, chain smoking and watching action films on a grainy TV at his friend's flat in a Beirut suburb. Since deserting President Bashar al-Assad's army he mostly avoids venturing outdoors.

Shrapnel from a rebel shell ripped into his knuckles when he was serving on a front line of the Syrian conflict in Mouadamiya near Damascus. The blast means his vision is impaired at night, the light-framed 24-year-old said.

"When it's dark I can't see much from far away. I wouldn't know if there was a checkpoint at the end of the road."

He limits his movements to a few hundred yards from this temporary accommodation, fearing arrest for squatting in Lebanon illegally. Nasser used an alias for fear of identification by Lebanese or Syrian authorities.

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WNU Editor: The focus on this story is on the Syrian military, but I suspect that on the rebel side the numbers are the same.


Jay Farquharson said...

It's probably worse on the jihadi's side because of their huge reliance on foreign fighters.

RRH said...

I don't know of an army that doesn't have deserters. War is not for most of us. I could always tell the difference between committed combat soldiers (the minority) and those who were not interested in fighting. I remember being in pre-deployment on a CF base and a soldier asking me if I was going to Afghanistan. When I replied "yes", he looked at me as if I was insane and said "not me, never, I'd run away first". Even civilians would "desert" and not finish contracts because they could not bear the environment.

For the SAA it has to be so much worse dealing with the war as they are seeing their country, cities, homes and friends/family being destroyed. It will be generations before Syria recovers. The mental and emotional damage of the war will be very evident long after the infrastructure is rebuilt. It will even be passed down to those not even yet born. Even those of us raised by veterans of Canada's wars carry the stamp of those men's experiences and outlook.

For the foreigners, I imagine there are many who quickly become disillusioned when they experience incoming, injury, death all around, and defecation inducing fear for the first time. I am also sure that for many, the war --any war-- is their modus operandi.