Turkish state restructures its mercenaries

The conflict is raging between the Turkish state and its mercenaries on the one hand, and between the mercenaries themselves on the other hand, in the areas occupied by Turkey in Syria. Therefore, the latter seeks to restructure and organize these mercenaries, but its opponents in this regard are many.

Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
Turkish state restructures its mercenaries
28 April 2024   05:16

The mercenaries formed by the Turkish occupation state and deployed in the areas it occupies (Afrin, Azaz, Al-Bab, Jarabulus, Girê Spi, and Serêkaniyê) are fighting among themselves on the one hand, and between it and the Turkish state that established it on the other hand.

According to security and local sources, the Turkish occupation state gives mercenaries a new form every time, in line with its interests and foreign policies, so its opponents are increasing day after day.

It brought them together in 2017

The Turkish occupation state began forming mercenaries from the beginning of the Syrian crisis, and gathered them in 2017 under the name of what is known as the “Syrian National Army.” Within this framework, 41 mercenary groups were organized into 3 legions.

In 2018, specifically before the occupation of Afrin, the Turkish occupation state merged the small groups, which it considered controversial, with the larger groups and reduced their number to 36.

It reduced the number of members under the First Legion brigade from 14 to only 6, and according to the sources, the Legion’s mercenaries did not act according to the Turkish will and were witnessing a number of conflicts, so Turkey intervened and merged the conflicting mercenaries with others.

It also merged two groups of mercenaries known as the so-called “Army of Grandchildren,” with the mercenaries of a division called the “Suleiman Shah Division,” and brought together the divisions that did not fully submit to it under the banner of the “Second and Third Corps.”

Following the occupation of Serêkaniyê

The mercenaries underwent change again following the occupation of Serêkaniyê in 2019. The Turkish state planned, through its intelligence services, to support Turkmen mercenary groups in extending its control over and controlling all other mercenary groups. Within the framework of this plan, it sent many mercenaries to Libya and the Karabakh region. Which caused the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

According to the plans of the Turkish state intelligence services, the mercenaries under the banner of the “First Corps” were re-structured as “Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Jaish al-Sharqiya,” and “Division 20” under the name “Liberation and Construction Movement.” Most of these mercenary groups are in conflict with the rest of the rest and with the state. Turkish.

The rest of the groups gathered as “Al-Hamza Division, Al-Mu’tasim Division, Suleiman Shah Division, and Sultan Murad Division.” Under the banner of the “Second Corps” under the name “Thaerun Movement.”

While the mercenary groups under the name "Third Corps" and controlled by the "Levan Front" gathered under the name "Harakat al-Azm."

Mercenary conflicts

Conflicts between mercenaries increased after these changes, as each mercenary group took control of an occupied area and declared it independent.

This did not comply with the plans of the Turkish occupation state, so it intervened and eliminated these formations (movements) or new names and sought to reunite them under the name of the “Syrian National Army.”

Relations between Turkey and Damascus and their influence on mercenaries

After the presidential elections in 2023, the Turkish occupation state restored its relations with the Damascus government and sought to resolve its differences with the Arab countries. Therefore, it changed its foreign policies. These policies raised the fears and anger of some mercenary groups and undermined their confidence in Turkey. Some of them even announced that Turkey had abandoned them and she sold it.

A number of mercenary groups, such as the Levant Front, Jaysh al-Islam from the First Corps, Ahrar al-Sham from the Second Corps, and Al-Mu'tasim Division from the Third Corps, came out against Turkey and expressed their rejection of this.

The mercenaries of the "Sultan Murad, Al-Hamzah and Suleiman Shah Divisions" supported Turkey, while the mercenaries of the so-called "Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Failaq al-Sham and Failaq al-Rahman" expressed their neutrality.

Clashes between mercenaries and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham extending its control

These conflicts resulted in the outbreak of numerous clashes between mercenaries last year, and according to the sources, under the guidance of the Turkish intelligence services, planning was made to place all mercenaries under the control of the “Sultan Murad Division” and to liquidate groups opposed to Turkey’s policies at the hands of the “Second Corps,” and in light of this plan the "Hamza Division" mercenaries assassinated a prominent member of the Levant Front mercenaries called Abu Ghanoum, which caused major changes in the structure of the "Syrian National Army."

The clashes between the mercenaries increased, and as a result, the mercenaries of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which controls Idlib and its environs, spread among the various mercenary groups in Afrin, Azaz, al-Bab, and Jarabulus.

New formations and feuds

These crises resulted in the formation of new mercenaries called “Al-Shahba Gathering, Coordination Forces, and Unified Forces.”

The "Al-Shahba Gathering" was formed with the support of "Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham" and is led by the mercenary called Hussein Assaf Abu Tawfiq. It consists of "Ahrar al-Tawhid, Ahrar al-Sham, the Eastern Arm, and Nour al-Din al-Zenki." These mercenaries and mercenaries directly affiliated with the Turkish intelligence services are opposed.

As for the mercenaries of the “Al-Hamza Division and the Suleiman Shah Division,” they are part of the “Coordination Forces” and fully adhere to the instructions and plans of the Turkish intelligence, but they are not in direct hostility with the “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.” Sources report that this is taking place based on a plan by the Turkish intelligence services, and the deployment of these mercenaries is concentrated In Afrin.

The "Mu'tasim Division and the Levant Front" fall under the banner of the "Unified Force," and this was done after the meeting of the leader of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, Muhammad al-Julani, with high-ranking officials in Turkish intelligence in Diluc.

Blocking off Turkish intelligence officials and the so-called interim government

Crises and conflicts continue between the mercenaries with each other and between them and the Turkish occupation state until now (2024).

Last March, a crowd of residents blocked the path of the so-called head of the "interim government", Abdul Rahman Mustafa, and the so-called head of the coalition (the National Coalition for Syrian Opposition Forces), Hadi Al-Bahra, when they were trying to enter Azaz with the mercenaries.

The crowd of people blocked the road for the mercenary cars and prevented them from entering Azaz, and as a result, a number of high-ranking officials in the Turkish intelligence, said to include intelligence leader Ibrahim Kalin, headed to the region, but that also met with popular protests, and the Al-Bab region also witnessed Massive demonstrations and protests, several crises, injuries and deaths.

Turkish intelligence intervenes again

The Turkish intelligence services intervened with the mercenaries again after these crises, and this time they targeted the mercenaries of the “Al-Shahba Gathering and the Coordination Forces.” Turkish intelligence ordered them to return to the umbrella of the “National Army” or else they would be liquidated.

As a result of these interventions, the mercenaries of “Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Ahrar al-Tawhid, the Levant Front, and the al-Mu’tasim Division” withdrew from the so-called “Shahba Gathering Front,” and the “Zenki and al-Mu’tasim” mercenaries joined the “Second Corps” and the “Shamiya” mercenaries joined the “Third Corps.”

The Shahba group joined the National Army under pressure.

The "Ahrar al-Sharqiyah and Suqur Azaz" mercenaries were the only ones from the "Al-Shahba Gathering" who refused to join the "National Army," and for this reason the Turkish occupation state carried out several operations during which it liquidated and arrested its members, especially those at the commercial border crossings, and seized many of their military points under the pretext of change.