On 28 September, OCCRP reported that large fees to avoid military conscription have helped turn Syria’s diaspora into a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped government. Men who don’t pay face the threat of their family’s assets in Syria being seized. About a fifth of Syria’s population of 17 million are men of military age, according to data from the World Bank; with some 6.6 million Syrians having fled abroad since the protest movement of early 2011 slipped into civil war. It is said that Syrian embassies, which used to only process paperwork for the military exemptions, have recently begun collecting cash payments. Syria’s 2021 budget projection predicts revenues from the military exemption fees to reach 240 billion Syrian pounds — about $190 million at the official exchange rate — up from 70 billion pounds in 2020 – and estimated revenue makes up 3.2% of this year’s budget revenue, up from 1.75% in 2020.
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