Forced Military Conscription Causes Alarm in Syria

Alarm is circulating in Syria regarding 350,000 names reportedly distributed to fixed and temporary military checkpoints. These names are Syrians who are being forcibly conscripted into the Syrian army. A photo of Syrian men chained together and being loaded onto a truck after conscription at such a checkpoint has gone viral on social media.

As a religious minority, Syrian Christians are in an incredibly challenging position. The civil war pressured citizens to choose between Assad and the rebels, neither of which were safe options for Christians. For this reason, many Syrian Christians fled the country, leaving behind a church that is now largely composed of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs).

The situation for MBBs is precarious across the entire Middle East. But in Syria, their situation stands out because of the additional element of a years long civil war. MBBs are deeply afraid of forced conscription. If their conversion becomes public and they are forcibly conscripted, then their loyalty is questioned both to Assad and to Islam. A dangerous situation becomes even more dangerous with the discovery of their new faith in Christ.

International Christian Concern,