Assad should worry more about his own people

My friend Reuben Brand, an Australian journalist currently based in Damascus, has written an interesting piece about homelessness in Syria:

We asked Hussein if he went to school, he said that he didn’t want to because if he completed his school diploma he would be sent into military service. I couldn’t believe that at such a young age Hussein was already worried of being sent into the military and would forgo any form of education just to escape it. Most other kids of his age are only concerned with playing soccer, the latest Playstation game and watching TV.

Conscription is a dread that faces every young male here, it reminded me of a conversation I’d had the night before with a young man who worked at the hotel we were staying at. “It is one of the toughest armies in the world, some people die just in the training – I really don’t want to go, it takes two years of your life away from you. The only good thing about it is that you go into the military like a mouse and if you survive, you come out as strong as a lion,” he said.