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Young Syrians flee regime areas for Turkey

Dozens of young men from areas controlled by the Syrian government and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) cross daily smuggling routes to the areas under the Syrian opposition to reach Turkey and flee to Europe to escape conscription in the Syrian army.
A displaced Syrian boy stands next to Turkish military vehicles near the town of Batabu on the highway linking Idlib to the Syrian Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on March 2, 2020.

The devastating economic conditions and soaring unemployment rates in the Syrian government-controlled areas are pushing many young men toward Turkey via areas held by the opposition in the northern countryside of Aleppo and those under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib.

These young men face several dangers on the journey between cities controlled by the government. Most of them are wanted for failing to join the compulsory military service in the Syrian government army. To avoid conscription or arrest, they head to the opposition-controlled areas, specifically those held by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions, allied with Turkey. They cross smuggling routes between the government areas and the FSA areas, or between the areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the FSA areas.

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