المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR:Syrian Front for Liberation… What is end of declaring new umbrella of mercenary groups

The Turkish occupation policy continues to change the names of the mercenary groups and integrate them, in light of the rampant chaos in the occupied areas and the continuation of criminal operations, in a move that a political activist sees as “may be followed by merging with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.”

On Thursday, it announced 5 mercenary groups deployed in the areas occupied by Turkey;  Its merger under a new military bloc called the “Syrian Liberation Front”, in addition to the announcement of the “Azim Operations Room” before that.
The announcement came a day after out of blue visit by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar for the first time to the occupied areas in northern Syria.  Specifically, the Azaz region, met the leaders of mercenary groups, according to local sources.
Akar’s visit came hours after a deterrent operation carried out by the Al-Bab Military Council on September 7 against a military base of the Turkish occupation, which led to the killing and wounding of 40 Turkish soldiers and mercenaries and the destruction of fortifications in the village of Al-Yashli near the city of Al-Bab, according to a statement issued by the council.
“Syrian Liberation Front”… Formation and objectives
Under the announced new umbrella, the names of groups that were named after criminals at the highest levels during the war years in the country fall.
The front initially consists of 5 groups, namely the “Al-Hamza Division (Al-Hamzat) – Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade – Al-Mu’tasim Division – 20 Division – Suqur Al-Shamal”, as the two factions Suleiman Shah and Al-Hamzat form the mainstay of this front.
Hamza Division
The division was established on April 23, 2016 and under the supervision of Turkish intelligence, 5 groups based in the town of Mare’ in the northern countryside of Aleppo governorate, (Al-Hamza Brigade, Dhi Qar Brigade, Northern Thunder Brigade, Mare’ Al-Samoud Brigade, and Special Tasks Brigade), merged to form  Hamza band.
At the beginning of 2014, the Global Coalition provided logistical support to this group through Turkey, while that support stopped months later without explaining the reasons.
The division adopts an extremist Islamic ideology that is hostile to the West, and works within the framework of the return of Ottoman rule to the countries of the Middle East.
The division, as one of the most effective groups at the time, accompanied the Turkish occupation army during the latter’s occupation of the Syrian territories after ISIS mercenaries handed over the city of Jarablus and its countryside to the Turkish occupation in August 2016.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that “many ISIS mercenaries joined the mercenaries of (Al-Hamza Division), which announced at the end of 2017, its involvement with the mercenaries of the so-called “National Army”, which receives its instructions and orders directly from Turkey.
Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade
Most of the mercenaries within the faction come from Turkmen villages in northern Syria, and the division is currently led by the mercenary Muhammad al-Jassem, nicknamed “Abu Amsha”. The division was formed in Turkey in the spring of 2016, and participated in the process of occupying various areas in northern Syria, especially the Afrin canton and the Jarablus region.
Despite international condemnation and local distress as a result of criminal operations over the past years, the faction continues to carry out killings and kidnappings, especially in the occupied canton of Afrin, where nearly 7,500 people have been kidnapped so far, according to the human rights organization in the canton.
Things did not differ for the Syrians, as video clips and pictures of former ISIS mercenaries fighting alongside the Turkish occupation army in controlling the cities of north and east Syria, amid international silence, proved, in addition to the retaliatory operations whose approach and method of implementation do not differ from what ISIS did.
Mercenaries from these groups played a role in the process of releasing ISIS accused of war crimes from the prisons of the Syrian Democratic Forces and who later took refuge in Turkey, during the aggression on the areas of Girê Spî / Tal Abyad and Serê Kaniyê / Ras al-Ain.
‘Sifting groups… and introducing personalities who maintain loyalty to Turkey’
The writer and political activist Muhammed Amin Suwaid believes that the Turkish occupation “is re-sifting the groups and choosing the groups led by figures who owe absolute loyalty to the point of slandering the Turkish occupation. This new front is expected to end the small groups and organize the region in light of the chaos.”
According to Muhammad Suwaid, Turkey sees the region as a “human reservoir, which it uses to carry out its dirty work outside Turkey.”
Turkey transferred 13,000 Syrian mercenaries from the Hamzah and Sultan Suleiman Shah factions from the occupied areas through its lands to Libya;  between 2019 and 2021;  According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to fight alongside the Government of National Accord against the Libyan National Army.
The observatory stated earlier that the number of Syrian mercenaries who arrived in Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, to fight against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region last year exceeded 2,000, while 231 mercenaries were killed in those battles, documented by names.
‘A step may be followed by merging with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’
Political activist Muhammad Suwaid explains the formation of the body called the “Syrian Liberation Front” as “a proactive step in the process that Turkey seeks to merge the northern Syrian groups with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, and to form a unified military body throughout the areas occupied by Turkey.”
Turkey transferred 13,000 Syrian mercenaries from the Hamzah and Sultan Suleiman Shah factions from the occupied areas through its lands to Libya;  between 2019 and 2021;  According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to fight alongside the Government of National Accord against the Libyan National Army.
The observatory stated earlier that the number of Syrian mercenaries who arrived in Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, to fight against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region last year exceeded 2,000, while 231 mercenaries were killed in those battles, documented by names.
‘A step may be followed by merging with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’
Political activist Muhammad Suwaid explains the formation of the body called the “Syrian Liberation Front” as “a proactive step in the process that Turkey seeks to merge the northern Syrian groups with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, and to form a unified military body throughout the areas occupied by Turkey.”
Signs of this became clear when the commander of the Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade, the mercenary Muhammad Al-Jassem, stated on the 7th of this month, that they were “ready to reach an understanding with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and to confront the attacks of the Syrian regime and its allies in the Idlib region together.”
While Suwaid points out that “the process of merging the military formations cannot end the existing state of dispersion, explaining that the leaders of the groups will compete for positions in the new formation and chaos will reign in that formation again.”
wordplay
The roles of the groups do not differ according to their names and the invention of other names. Although umbrellas and groups have been repeatedly announced, the numbers and documents, along with pictures and clips circulating, show the extent of chaos in the areas occupied by Turkey and the mercenary groups.
According to observers, Turkey is seeking, during the current stage, to show the northern regions as safe, in light of the ongoing fighting between groups, and to cover up crimes and violations by showing new names.
Similar to the Turkish-backed al-Nusra Front in Syria, which changed its name to “Fatah al-Sham Front” and announced its disassociation from al-Qaeda in the summer of 2016, the Turkish policy continues to change names in light of the bloody practices under Turkish auspices in the occupied areas.
The Turkish state played the same game with ISIS and Al-Nusra before, after using it in Mosul, Shingal, Kobani, Raqqa and other places, it spread to world public opinion as if it was against these gangs, however, pictures of Turkish soldiers and ISIS spread together on the Turkish-Syrian border in those years, and the fact  that the Turkish Consulate in Mosul was moved to Turkey via the city of Girê Spi / Tal Abyad by ISIS alone, clearly revealed the partnership between Turkey and ISIS.
Al-Nusra as well as ISIS are organizations recognized as terrorist all over the world. However, the only force behind this mercenary group is the Turkish state led by Erdogan.
The Turkish state, which changed the name of these groups to the Al-Fateh Movement and then to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in order to wash away its crimes and use them in the occupation and genocide in the region, has actively used these gangs to occupy the areas of northern and eastern Syria.
Where these bloody and anti-human gangs united under the roof of the Syrian National Army during the occupation of Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî and carried out all kinds of crimes of looting, genocide, harassment and rape.
This time, as Turkey called them the “Syrian Liberation Front”, they are trying to be exonerated by their successor Erdogan, but the truth is clear and regardless of the name of these bloody gangs made up of ISIS / Al-Nusra remnants, their crimes against all humanity, especially the Kurdish and Arab peoples, have been proven.  The crimes they committed yesterday and today are a guarantee for the crimes they will commit tomorrow in the name of the “Syrian Liberation Front”.
Bloody years…lived by the occupied areas under the control of mercenary groups.
In September last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on war crimes and other violations of international law committed by mercenary groups affiliated with Turkey in the occupied areas of northern Syria.
The High Commissioner clarified for the first time that Turkey committed war crimes by using Syrian mercenaries from the so-called “Syrian National Army” in the areas it had previously occupied, following the detailed report issued by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on September 14 of the same year, accompanied by pictures from  satellites.
Turkey allowed through its territory more than 40,000 ISIS militants to cross into Syria, coming from 110 countries around the world between 2014 and 2016, according to what the former US special envoy to the international coalition against ISIS, Brett McGurk, confirmed in a tweet on his Twitter.  From some areas in northern Syria, it “caused killings, kidnappings, looting and forced displacement in areas controlled by Turkey.”
According to statistics circulated by human rights organizations and local media;  The Turkish attack on the areas of Afrin, Serê Kaniyê / Ras al-Ain, and Gire Spi / Tal Abyad in northern Syria, caused the displacement of nearly 700,000 Syrian citizens from their homes, most of them Kurds, in the largest process of demographic change in Syria since 2011.
According to the Human Rights Organization in the regions of Al-Jazira and Afrin;  Nearly 500,000 settlers have been settled in the occupied areas by Turkey, drawn from the conflict areas in Syria, in addition to the establishment of informal camps due to the overcrowding of the population.
Meanwhile, the security chaos and the continuous fighting between mercenary groups have killed hundreds of civilians during the last 3 years.

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