Alwaght- The Syrian government has announced on Tuesday an amnesty for army deserters or those who avoided military service, facilitating refugees' return as the government is establishing control over most of the warn-torn country's territories.
In a decree issued on his social media feeds, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the amnesty covered all punishments for desertion inside or outside Syria. Men inside Syria will have four months to take advantage of the amnesty while those outside will have six months.
The fear of conscription, and potential punishment for ducking it or for desertion, is frequently cited by aid groups as one of the main reasons refugees give for not wanting to return home.
Under Syrian military law, deserters can face years of prison if they leave their posts and do not report for service within a set amount of time.
While the amnesty covers desertion, it does not cover fighting against the government or joining the militant and terrorist groups.
In the past three years, Russian and Iranian military support has helped Assad regain control of numerous enclaves held by foreign-backed militants, ending fighting in many areas.