Syria's Assad Says Army Faces Manpower Shortfall But Vows To Win War
July 26, 2015
Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad has acknowledged that the Syrian Army faces a shortfall in manpower and had to give up some areas in the ongoing civil war.
However, Assad said the army was capable of defending the nation and vowed to win the war.
In a televised speech, Assad said on July 26 that 'there is a lack of human resources' in the army 'but that doesn't mean we can talk about collapse.'
A shortage of young men has prompted Syria to rely on recruiting loyalist militias in state-controlled provinces.
The regular army's numbers have shrunk sharply to 200,000 from 350,000 before the war, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Assad said the army had to give up some areas of Syria due to military priorities.
He said that 'it was necessary to specify critical areas for our armed forces to hang on to. Concern for our soldiers forces us to let go of some areas.'
In a bid to help bolster the ranks of the army, Assad announced an amnesty on July 25 for army deserters who have violated the compulsory military conscription law.
Assad also said he supported any political dialogue to end the war, even if it had a limited impact on resolving the crisis.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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