ISIS begins forcibly conscripting civilians to fight in the battle for Deir Ezzor

The Islamic State (Isil) has begun forcibly conscripting men to fight on the front lines for the first time as it struggles with a major manpower shortage in the battle for one of its last strongholds in Syria.

The jihadist group ordered all men between the ages of 20 and 30 to report to Isil checkpoints for military duty, according to an order issued in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor on Thursday. Civilians were given one week to submit themselves or face punishment.

Isil has forced civilians into its ranks before but only ever in support roles, like cooking for its fighters or digging trenches. The Deir Ezzor order is believed to be the first time the group has called up conscripts to actually fight.