Mu'tasim Division

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Mu'tasim Division
فرقة المُعتصم
Firqat al-Mu'tasim
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Logo of the al-Moutasem Brigade.jpg
Logo of al-Mu'tasim Brigade
Flag of the al-Moutasem Brigade.png
Flag of the Mu'tasim Brigade
Active4 August 2015—present
Allegiance Syrian Interim Government
Leaders
HeadquartersMare'
Area of operationsAleppo Governorate, Syria
Size
Part of Free Syrian Army Syrian Train and Equip Program
Allies
Opponent(s) Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Syrian Democratic Forces (since 2018)
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War
Websitehttps://twitter.com/lewaamotasem?lang=en

The Mu'tasim Division (Arabic: فرقة المُعتصم‎, romanizedFirqat al-Mu'tasim), formerly the Mutasim Brigade (Arabic: لواء المعتصم‎, romanizedLiwa al-Mu'tasim), is a Free Syrian Army faction active in the northern Aleppo Governorate, based in the town of Mare'. The group was named after al-Mu'tasim, an Abbasid caliph.

Equipment[edit]

The Mu'tasim Brigade is known for possessing a large amount of US-supplied weapons from the Syrian Train and Equip Program, including M16 rifles, M249 light machine guns, M240 machine guns, Soltam K6, M224 mortars, M252 mortars, M2 Browning, and technicals. This led to reports being made that this group is supplied by the United States. The group did not receive anti-tank missiles from the US.[citation needed]

Ideology[edit]

The Mu'tasim Brigade supports the political Syrian peace process. However, it opposes the U.S.–Russia peace proposals on Syria.[2] The commander of the group has called for "freedom and justice", which led to tensions between him and the al-Nusra Front, seeing him as a threat to al-Nusra's caliphate project.[7]

History[edit]

The group's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Hassan Khalil, was originally a rebel commander in Jabal al-Akrad, Latakia Governorate. However, in 2015 he was forced out of Latakia by the al-Nusra Front after tensions between the two groups. His group then moved to Aleppo.[7]

In April 2016 the group participated in the Northern Aleppo offensive (March–June 2016), along with the Sham Legion and the Sultan Murad Division, driving vehicles from Doudiyan toward ISIL positions in al-Rai and capturing 8 villages in the way.[1]

In June the group formed an alliance with the Descendants of Saladin Brigade and 6 other rebel groups in Mare' after breaking an ISIL siege on the town. The new coalition claims to have 1,500 fighters under a unified military command and established contact with the rival Syrian Democratic Forces.[4] Later that month, Muhammad Hassan Khalil was kidnapped in Mare'. The Mu'tasim Brigade accused Major General Dara Aza, former commander of rebels in Mare', and al-Nusra Front of carrying out the abduction.[2]

In August and September the Mu'tasim Brigade participated in Operation Euphrates Shield which captured Jarabulus and al-Rai.[2]

On 12 April 2017, 100 new fighters of the Mu'tasim Brigade graduated after they completed training in a camp near Mare', bringing the total number of members in the group to 1,000, according to one of its commanders.[3]

On 29 June 2017, Awad Abu Saqr, a military commander in the Mu'tasim Brigade, defected to the Syrian Democratic Forces.[5]

On 25 April 2018, the Mu'tasim Brigade withdraw its recognition of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces due to the National Coalition's inability to make national decisions. The group's decision came hours after George Sabra, Suheir Atassi, and Khaled Khoja resigned from the National Coalition.[8]

On 12 May 2018, commanders of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Rahman Legion, who frequently fought until they were defeated in eastern Ghouta and transferred to northern Aleppo, met in the Mu'tasim Brigade's headquarters and pledged not to continue fighting each other. Syrian Interim Government head Jawad Abu Hatab also attended the meeting.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Syria rebels near ISIS stronghold in N. Aleppo". Now. 4 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Brigade Mutassim .. sons of the Syrian revolution who went out in the face of the lion and Daesh". RFS Media Office. 16 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Khaled al-Khateb (18 April 2017). "FSA sees 'golden opportunity' with end of Turkey's operations in Syria". Al-Monitor.
  4. ^ a b "'Not just talk': New north Aleppo rebel alliance breaks Islamic State blockade". Syria:direct. 9 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b "A new split in the ranks of the "shield of the Euphrates" .. and Asayish Shahba arrest sleeper cell belonging to the factions". Adar Press. 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Agreement between the Army of Islam and the Legion of Rahman under the auspices of Mu'tasim Brigade". Syria TV. 12 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b "The kidnapping of the commander of "Brigade Mu'tasim" while on his way to fight in Syria Mare`". Rudaw. 8 June 2016.
  8. ^ "First FSA-Led Faction De-recognize "Syrian Coalition"". Syria Call. 25 April 2018.