World

Syria announces fresh demobilization for army conscripts as conflict abates

AFP-JIJI

Syria’s army on Monday announced the demobilization of officers who have completed five years of compulsory service, the second such move in recent months as fighting abates in the civil war.

The decree ends the drawn-out deployment of conscripts and reservists of the rank of officer “who will have completed five years of service” as of January 1, 2019, state news agency SANA reported.

The latest order comes after the army in May sent those conscripted in 2010, the year before the conflict erupted, back to their homes.

Before the war started, men 18 and older had to serve between 18 months and two years in the armed forces, after which they remained part of the reserves.

But when the conflict broke out, anyone enlisted remained deployed on active duty.

The 300,000-strong army was nearly halved by deaths, injuries and defections as the violence tore apart the country.

Fighting has diminished since a string of major battleground gains by the Russia-backed forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Regime troops have secured the capital Damascus and largely confined opposition fighters to the northwestern province of Idlib, where a buffer zone deal is seeking to still violence.

Syria’s war has killed 360,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.