Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad hold their weapons as they walk in Al-Mathana area, north of Aleppo after saying they have regained control of the area and its surrounding farms, October 4, 2014. REUTERS/George Ourfalian
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A nationwide effort to bolster the ranks of Syria's armed forces has been launched by the authorities, according to pro-opposition sources and multiple media reports. The reports said the campaign was taking place in a number of regime-held areas – whether through stepped-up surveillance of military-age men passing through checkpoints, or among the ranks of civil servants who have already performed their military service and are eligible for reserve duty. Yousef, a member of the Alawite community, also commented on a statement by a group called the "Free Syrian Alawites," which circulated this week and urged members of the sect to refuse to report for military service or make themselves available for reserve duty.The statement claimed the Alawite sect, the backbone of the regime's military and security bodies, has suffered 60,000 casualties during the war.
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