Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2017, 12:46 GMT

Syria: Treatment of Sunni Muslims in the military; whether the government is or has been recalling individuals who have already completed their compulsory military service to serve again in the military, and the means, if any, by which such individuals can legally avoid being recalled

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 11 April 2003
Citation / Document Symbol SYR41280.E
Reference 5
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Syria: Treatment of Sunni Muslims in the military; whether the government is or has been recalling individuals who have already completed their compulsory military service to serve again in the military, and the means, if any, by which such individuals can legally avoid being recalled , 11 April 2003, SYR41280.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4e2215.html [accessed 26 September 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to a 2000 BBC News report, "[t]he Syrian military establishment has been very much behind Mr. Assad's regime" (11 June 2000). Hafez al-Assad is the former president of Syria who passed away in 2000 (BBC 11 June 2000). He and his family belong to the minority Alawite community in Syria, which is "an offshoot of the Shia sect of Islam" (ibid.). The former president was succeeded by his son, Bashar al-Assad (ibid.).

Although Sunni Muslims constitute the majority of the population in Syria, "Alawis hold a predominant position in the security services and military, well out of proportion to their percentage of the population" (International Religious Freedom Report 2002 7 Oct. 2002).

According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002,

The Constitution provides for equal rights and equal opportunity for all citizens. ... [I]n practice membership in the Ba'th Party or close familial relations with a prominent party member or powerful government official can be important for economic, social, or educational advancement. Party or government connections [can pave] the way for ... greater power within the Government, the military, and the security services. ... Apart from some discrimination against Jews and stateless Kurds, there were no apparent patterns of systematic government discrimination based on race, sex, disability, language, or social status. However, there were varying degrees of societal discrimination in each of these areas (31 Mar. 2003).

This paragraph was also stated in Country Reports 2001 and Country Reports 2000, which also added that "there are no apparent patterns of systematic government discrimination based on ... religion" (4 Mar. 2002; 23 Feb. 2001).

Corroborating information and reports of discrimination against Sunni Muslims in the military could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

Further, no reports indicating whether Syria is or has been recalling individuals who have already completed their military service to serve in the military again, nor any information on means by which such individuals can lawfully avoid being recalled could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

BBC News. 11 June 2000. Tarik Kafala. "What Now for Syria?" [Accessed 10 Apr. 2003]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 10 Apr. 2003]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 4 March 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 10 Apr. 2003]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. 23 February 2001. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 10 Apr. 2003]

International Religious Freedom Report 2002. 7 October 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C. [Accessed 10 Apr. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

The Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic, in Ottawa, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

NEXIS

The Syrian Human Rights Committee, in London, UK, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

World News Connection

Internet sites, including:

Al-Bawaba

Centre for Defense Information (CDI)

European Country of Origin Information Network

International Coalition for Religious Freedom

International Relations and Security Network (INS)

Syrian Arab News Agency

Syrian Human Rights Committee

The Syria Report (no searchable archives)

Syria Times

Search engine:

Google

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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