The Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an active Salafist jihadist militant group involved in the Syrian Civil War imposes royalties on people in the north, most of whom have been internally displaced for more than once. It also imposes social restrictions and creates irrational conditions for dealing with organizations of civil affairs, although it benefits from them financially.
HTS is not the only entity that feeds on others, as some armed groups control important functions in a region overcrowded with Assad’s opponents.
After the Syrian north was evacuated by Turkey from fighters, who were sent to fight on the Libyan fronts alongside the militias of the National Accord Government, and that control large swathes of the north, have struck trading deals with the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, although they are supposedly enemies and are planning for a “decisive” battle.
The Brigade of Al-Sultan Murad is leading the trade with Hezbollah in the Syrian north, as it holds the keys of a trading based on drugs, which Iran-backed militias work on distributing them to all Syrian regions, according to exclusive information received by MENA Research and Study Center.
The Brigade was founded with the support of the Turkish nationalists, and it was initially located in Aleppo. According to our sources, they received financial and military support from the Turkish Nationalist Party.
Following the fall of Aleppo, it moved to the Euphrates shield areas, and was led by a Turkish Alawite officer named „Ghazi“, affiliated with the Nationalist Party. On the opening of the crossing, Ghazi asked for increasing the number of volunteers, mostly Turkmen from Homs.
In Syria’s other provinces, the brigade’s affairs are run by Fahim Issa, a Turkmen, who started smuggling operation two years ago from Abu al-Zandeen crossing, where sheep, foodstuffs and oil were smuggled to the Assad controlled areas, although all oil products are very rare in the Syrian north, and some people have died of bitter cold because their families did not have any means for keeping them warm.
On the other side of the crossing, Assad’s Forth Brigade import drugs from Hezbollah to al-Sultan Murad Brigade, and then to Turkey and Bulgaria, under supervision of Turkish officers who benefit from all that.
Before the fall of Ahrar al-Sham Faction who controlled the region until they were defeated by the HTS, they tried to gain some benefit out of the crossing, but they failed after many battles which forced them to leave the field for al-Sultan Murad.
Until now, the brigade of al-Sultan Murad is completely controlled by the Turkish Nationalists Party, as the government in Ankara does not control the army, it just controls the intelligence, which deepens the dispute between the two institutions.
This means that a disaster is looming in the Syrian north if Turkey will not stop its support for the armed factions who mistreat people and engage in horrible practices to which Turkey turns a blind eye, allowing the force of arms to prevail.