Following factional and tribal disputes | Commander and militiamen split from Al-Amshat division in Afrin
Aleppo province: SOHR sources have reported that a commander of Sultan Suleiman Shah Division, aka “Al-Amshat,” and subordinated militiamen announced their defection from the Turkish-backed faction. This follows Al-Amshat Division’s alliance with Al-Hamza Division with the aim of eliminating an armed group, headed by “Abu Bakr Al-Muwali” in Basoutah village and Jabal Al-Ahlam in Shirawa district in Afrin countryside in north-western Aleppo.
It is worth noting that the defected commander is from Al-Muwali tribe.
According to SOHR sources, Al-Hamza Division, headed by “Said Abu Bakr,” had besieged a group affiliated to the defected commander comprising militiamen from Al-Muwali trib, led by “Abu Bakr Al-Muwali,” in mid-January in Al-Basoutah village and Jabal Al-Ahlam. Al-Hamza Division then asked the besieged group to handover all headquarters and weapons. This followed a dispute over the priority to use routes used for smuggling to Nebl and Al-Zahraa which are dominated by Iranian-backed militias.
“Abu Bakr Al-Muwali” group had refused Al-Hamza Division’s request, before the two groups amassed their troops in Al-Basoutah village and Jabal Al-Ahlam in Shirawa district. Meanwhile, Sultan Suleiman Shah Division involved in the dispute alongside Al-Hamza Division, sending military reinforcement. Fearing involving in a factional infighting, “Abu Bakr Al-Muwali” group handed over its headquarters in those villages and other headquarters on the frontlines with regime forces in Nebl and Al-Zahraa in the northern countryside of Aleppo, as well as handing over light weapons.
During the handing over of headquarters of “Abu Bakr Al-Muwali” group, a group of Al-Hamza Division ambushed Al-Muwali tribesmen, taking over their personal weapons and verbally abusing them.
Accordingly, a military group and battalions comprising militiamen from Al-Muwali tribe announced their split from Suleiman Shah Division for supporting Al-Hamza Division.
It is worth noting that Al-Basoutah village and Jabal Al-Ahlam host the most prominent routes used for smuggling operations between areas controlled by the “National Arm” and regime-controlled areas, where factions of the “National Army” make thousands of US dollars every day from smuggling people and food between the two zones of influence.