Syrian Turkmen Brigades
|United Turkmen Army|
|Birleşik Türkmen Ordusu
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Official flag of Syrian Turkmen as declared by the official governing body of Turkmen in Syria, the Syrian Turkmen Assembly on 25th November 2015.
|Area of operations|
|Colours||Light blue, White, Red/Maroon|
|Battles and wars||
Syrian Turkmen Brigades (Turkish: Suriye Türkmen Tugayları), also called the United Turkmen Army (Turkish: Birleşik Türkmen Ordusu), are an informal armed opposition structure composed of Syrian Turkmen and Turks that form the military wing of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly, primarily fighting against the Syrian Armed Forces, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian Democratic Forces. They are aligned with the Syrian opposition and are heavily supported by Turkey, who provides funding and military training along with artillery and aerial support. The groups represents a wide spectrum of ideologies from Islamism to secular Turkish nationalism.
In November 2015, Syrian Turkmen Brigades and al-Nusra Front fighters were engaged in heavy fighting against the Syrian government forces supported by the Shiite militias and the Russian Air Force. Turkmen forces have been the target of heavy Russian bombing in 2015, with reported civilian casualties which have been interpreted as a Russian effort aiming to change the ethnic dynamics of the region. On November 24, 2015 a Russian Su-24 fighter was shot down by Turkish forces for allegedly violating Turkish airspace, near the Syrian border. The aircraft crashed on Syrian land. The two pilots ejected and were shot at in the air while using their parachutes by the Syrian Turkmen Brigades.
Military structure and groups
The Sultan Murad Division was formed in early 2013 and mainly operates in the Aleppo Governorate, claiming to process around 1,300 fighters as of 2016. There groups include the Mehmed the Conqueror Brigade, Syrian Turkmen Front, Mehmed the Conqueror Brigade, Sultan Murad Brigade, Martyr Zaki Turkmani Brigade, Ashbal Akida Brigade, Hamza and Abbas Brigade, Ahli Sunnah and Community Brigade, Yarmouk Regiment, 1st Regiment and the Turkmen Martyrs Brigade.
Formed in July 2015, the 2nd Coastal Division is the main Turkmen rebel group operating in the Latakia Governorate and is notable for killing one ejected Russian Air Force pilot from the Su-24 which was shot down by Turkey. The commander of the group, Alparslan Çelik, is a member of the Grey Wolves. The subdivisions are the Brigade of Mountain Turkmen, the Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror Brigade, the Sultan Selim Brigade, and the 1071 Raiders Brigade The 2nd Coastal Division has less than 500 fighters as of the end of 2015, although the group claims to have 2,000.
According to the Syrian Turkmen National Movement Party, as of early 2016, three out of more than 40 villages in the Turkmen Mountain of Latakia were under Turkmen rebel control, as the result of the 2015–16 Latakia offensive. Many Turkmen rebels in the area are Turkish citizens affiliated with the Grey Wolves. The 2nd Coastal Division took part in the 2016 Latakia offensive in an attempt to regain the territory lost to government forces in 2015. Over the course of the offensive, rebels retook Kinsabba, though division commander Riyad Qarrah Bijeq was mortally wounded during the assault.
Aligned with SDF
The Seljuq Brigade (former Sultan Selim Brigade member, now Army of Revolutionaries member) and the Manbij Turkmen Battalion (Army of Revolutionaries's Northern Sun Battalion) are Syrian Turkmen groups operating Rojava Syria respectively, unlike other Syrian Turkmen rebel groups, they are allied with the Syrian Democratic Forces and are not supported by Turkey.
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