Syrian Turkmen

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Syrian Turkmens
Syrian Turkmen Brigades flag.png
Flag used by Syrian Turkmens and officially by Syrian Turkmen Brigades.
Total population
750,000 - 1,500,000[1] - 3,500,000[2][3]
Regions with significant populations
Aleppo  · Damascus  · Jazira  · Hama  · Homs  · Latakia[4]
Turkish  · Arabic [5][6]  · Azerbaijani[7]
Predominately Sunni Islam[8]
Related ethnic groups
Oghuz Turks (Turks  · Azerbaijanis  · Iraqi Turkmens  · Egyptian Turkmens)

Syrian Turks (Turks in Syria, Syrian Turkoman or Syrian Turkmen) (Turkish: Suriye Türkleri) are Syrian citizens of Turkish descent, who have been living in the Syrian provinces of the Ottoman Empire before its dissolution and continue to live in the modern country of Syria.[9]

During the Syrian Civil War, the Turkmen population of Syria were mainly involved in military actions against the Syrian Government Forces and have looked at Turkey for support and protection.[10]


Main articles: Zengid dynasty and Ottoman Syria

In the late 11th century, Syria was conquered first by the Seljuk Turks. After Seljuk Empire was separated into four parts, Malikshah's brother, Tutush, established the Syrian Seljuk State in 1079.[11] Syria was reigned by the Seljuks of Syria till 1117,[12] and then Artuqids, Zengids, Ayyubids and Mamluk Sultanate governed the region. Syria was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I in 1516 after defeating the Mamlukes at the Battle of Marj Dabiq near Aleppo in northern Syria. According to the population records of Ottoman Empire in 1518, the total population of Aleppo province was 54.276, and 36.217 was of Turkmen population.[13]

Turkmen cities[edit]

Turkmen came to Syria in several migration waves. Sometimes, the Seljuks and the Mamelukes living in the area adopted the Turkmen in their armies, and some Turkmen became aristocrats. Linda Cichlr wrote about these Turkmen aristocratic families in her book about the city of Damascus.

Turkmen villages[edit]

Turkmen villagers were resettled by the Ottoman Empire because of fear of unrest and riots that were caused by the Bedouin tribes during droughts. The instability of the Ottoman Empire made it difficult to control the tribes. Aelkezl Bash was a prominent anti-Ottoman leader. After the Ottomans returned from conquests in Europe however, they were able to put down revolutionary activities in the area and resettled the Turkmen to the villages of Latakia, Aleppo, Homs, and Hama in the Golan. Today, there are 523 Turkmen villages in Syria.[14]

In the vicinity of Hama and Homs, there are a number of villages which have a majority Turkmen population, including Houla, Aqrab, Talaf and Kafr Ram.[15]


A map of religious and ethnic communities of Syria and Lebanon (1935)

There are no clear estimates on the number of Turkmen in Syria. Several sources put them at around 100,000[16] to 200,000 However, the official state reports reflect reality.[17] Syrian Turkmen on the other hand claim to be between 750,000 and 1,500,000.[9] Nevertheless, the Turkmen National Council announced 3.5 million as the number of Turkmen in Syria.[18]

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ World Population Review, Syrian Population 2013, "Other major groups in Syria are Kurds (2 million), Syrian Turkmen (0.75-1.5 million) and Assyrians (0.9 to 1.2 million)."
  2. ^ ORSAM Report No: 150, Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies
  3. ^ ORSAM Report No: 83, The Turkmens of Syria, Quoted from page 16 (in Turkish): "Değişik kaynaklar ve saha çalışmasında elde edilen verilerden yola çıkarak Suriye Türkmenlerinin toplam nüfusu 3,5 milyon civarındadır."
  4. ^ Commins 2004, 268.
  5. ^ Galié & Yildiz 2005, 18.
  6. ^ Karpat 2004, 436.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Shora 2008, 236.
  9. ^ a b Özkaya 2007, 112.
  10. ^ Dispossessed Turkomans in Syria wait for Turkey’s support
  11. ^ Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters, (2009), Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, InfoBase Publishing, Google Books, p 516
  12. ^ Sigfried J. de Laet, (2000), History of Humanity: From the seventh to the sixteenth century, p.828, UNESCO, Google Books p.828
  13. ^ Öztürk Mustafa, 1616 Tarihli Halep Avarız-Hane Defteri, Read Online, p 255, (in Turkish)
  14. ^ The Turkmen of Syria: exposed early to assimilation and deportation policies, Page: 4-5, Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Foundation, February 15, 2012, Paper No: Art.1-A1512,
  15. ^ Hartmann, 2012, p. 54.
  16. ^ Phillips, David J. (1 January 2001). Peoples on the Move: Introducing the Nomads of the World. William Carey Library. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-87808-352-7. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  17. ^ AFP (31 January 2013). "Turkmen in joint battle 'for Syria democracy'". NOW. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  18. ^