Syrian President Bashar Assad receives a group of former Druze hostages in Damascus, Nov. 13, 2018. (The Daily Star/SANA, HO)
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Nearly eight years into the Syrian war, Selim still refuses to perform his military service, just like many fellow Druze from Swaida province rejecting the regime's conscription call.After the anti-regime protests that sparked Syria's war in 2011, the Druze obtained a de facto exemption from military service in exchange for their tacit support of the regime.Last week however, President Bashar Assad urged the minority, which accounted for around three percent of Syria's prewar population, to send its young men to the army.Young Druze men have in recent years enlisted in local militia to protect their region from Islamist militants and the regime's interests.At the time the central government was at its weakest, stretched very thin on many fronts and had humored the Druze not to risk opening up another.According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group, around 30,000 Druze men are liable for military service.
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