Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has ordered his government to repay the loans taken out by soldiers who were wounded in battle prior to 31 December 2020. The order includes those who borrowed from public banks.
According to the state-backed Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the repayments will be made by the state's Martyrs and Wounded Fund. The average value of the loans that will be paid off is estimated at 5 million Syrian pounds – approximately $9,750 – for every wounded soldier.
Amid the ongoing Syrian civil war and the continuation of minor hostilities against opposition forces in the north-west, Kurdish militias in the north-east, and armed groups in the east and south, there are said to be thousands of wounded soldiers and police personnel, as well as pro-regime militants.
Israeli air strikes target Syrian and Iranian military sites regularly in southern Syria. Buses transporting regime soldiers and militants have also been ambushed by suspected Daesh cells over the past month.
Despite Assad's instructions to repay the soldiers' loans, it is not yet clear how the Syrian government will be able to afford such a move. Syria is in the middle of an economic crisis ravaging the country, not least areas held by the regime.
The state is also under pressure to repay its ally Iran for the help and funding it has provided throughout the conflict, which amounts to at least $30 billion.