Myanmar's junta is making military service mandatory for all young men and women, state media announced on Saturday (Feb. 10).
All men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 must serve for up to two years, while specialists like doctors aged up to 45 must serve for three years.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state media that it is the duty of all citizens to safeguard and defend the nation.
"So I want to tell everyone to proudly follow this people's military service law," he said.
The junta's information team said in a statement that it "issued the notification of the effectiveness of People's Military Service Law starting from Feb. 10, 2024".
The law mandating conscription was introduced in 2010 but was not enforced.
Those who fail to comply may face imprisonment of up to five years, the law states.
Members of religious orders are exempt, while civil servants and students can be granted temporary deferments.
Why is conscription being introduced?
Myanmar has been embroiled in civil conflict since a military coup in February 2021 ousted the democratically elected government formed by the National League for Democracy, linked to Aung San Suu Kyi.
Resistance to the coup began almost immediately, with large protests eventually giving way to significant armed resistance.
Fighting between the military and armed resistance armies has been ongoing ever since, with the military relying on air strikes that have also involved significant civilian casualties.
A surprise offensive was launched against the military, also known as the Tatmadaw, last October.
The military suffered significant losses while an alliance of three ethnic-minority insurgent groups, allied with pro-democracy fighters, captured large swathes of land in northeastern Myanmar along the Chinese border.
In the wake of the setback, the military has enacted the law in hopes of recruiting more non-combat personnel to fight the resistance.
Top photo via @kyawhet_lwin/X