After payments cut off | “National Liberation Front” members join Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham.
Members of the “National Liberation Front” have expressed their anger and complained of the cut off of their payments and monthly aid allocations for more than three months, which worsened their dire living conditions even more and spurred many of them to split from the National Liberation Front (NLF) and joined HTS.
Very reliable SOHR sources have confirmed the suspension of monthly payment of NLF fighters since the beginning of March 2021. Basically the fighters’ payments are very nominal, as each fighter gets no more than 300 TL per month, about 40 $ only. The suspension of financial dues included operational expenses, including the cost of food and fuel. Such practices have ignited a state of resentment among the majority of fighters and started seeking after other jobs for earning money.
The number of NLF defectors ranges from 500 to 700 fighters, mostly are displacement people. According to sources, a big percentage of the defectors resorted to join HTS and its security services which offer a fixed monthly salary of about 100$ in addition to a monthly food supplies for each fighter.
In a testimony to SOHR, a defector of the National Liberation Front explained “I joined NLF when regime forces advanced into the western countryside of Hama. I was receiving a monthly payment of 300 to 400 TL. The monthly payments and allocations were completely cut off since the beginning of March 2021, then fighters repeatedly demanded their delayed payments, but to no avail. There were mass defections among the NLF fighters due to their daily needs under the stifling economic crises in Syria and the unaffordable prices.”
The fighter added “I have given up fighting for NLF and I am seeking to cross into Turkey to find a job, specially since I refuse to join HTS for the atrocities it committed in 2018, including the elimination of opposition armed factions in areas under its control.”
It is worth noting that HTS is a dominant militant group and gains large revenues through collecting taxation from border and interior crossings, sharing aid supplies provided by humanitarian organizations, collecting levies from residents, and getting revenues of its investment projects it runs in areas under its control. While NLF does not have such sources of income, and its financial support is confined to Turkey’s support only.
It is also worth noting that the “National Liberation Front” was established on May 28, 2018, of about 11 armed divisions, including the 1st Coastal Regiments, the 23rd division, 1st Infantry Division , Idlib Free Army, Jaysh al-Nasr, Jaysh al-Nukhbah.
At present, the “National Liberation Front” exists in areas under the control of HTS in Idlib city and countryside and in Latakia