An old topic, so maybe nobody cares anymore, but ...

[T]he notion these militia in Latakia Governorate, specifically the Bayirbucak area, are all secular/Pan-Turkish Turkmen who essentially formed self-defense militias to protect themselves from

They are only some of the militias fighting the pro-Syrian government forces.

The militias in the Syrian Turkmen Brigades are directly supported by Turkey (some of the Turkmen militias receive US-made TOWs, which have been fast-tracked through Turkey [including a supply line that runs into the Latakia Governorate] to Syrian militias in response to the overt Russian military intervention and subsequent pro-government forces' ground offensives (according to Reuters and the Military Times) and fight as part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Latakia Governorate.

The brigades include

Metin Gurcan reported in Al-Monitor that the

are fighting alongside the

in Bayirbucak.

During the 2014 Latakia Governorate offensive that initially took Kasab, some of the Turkmen brigades faught alongside Jahbat al-Nusrah (said originally to be a cell of Islamic State in Iraq that allied with Syrian “Islamist” groups and became “Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria” after a split with ISIS) and some FSA factions according to Gareth Jenkins.

According to journalist Umar Farooq, the Turkmen have acted as a mediator between Turkey some of the “Islamist” militias in Syria, including Jahbat al-Nusrah.

The Turkmen militias in Latakia Governorate (the “Brigades of Turkmen Mountain” who were once part of the FSA) are collectively the armed wing of the Syrian Turkmen National Bloc (STNB), founded in Istanbul, Turkey in February 2012, not too long after the Syria war began.

The conference was openly supported by Mazium-Der, a Turkish foundation [which] Al-Akhbar reported is linked to Turkey's current ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The STNB is part of the National Change Current and has sent representatives to Syrian Turkmen Assembly meetings, which were supported by Turkey's Foreign Ministry.

The Syrian Turkmen Assembly was officially established in March 2013 during a meeting attended by (then) Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and (then) Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu.

In a second meeting in Ankara on May 9-10, 2014, the Turkmen Assembly elected officials to act as the assembly's governing officials. Turkey's parliament recognized the Syrian Turkmen Assembly as the legitimate representative of the Syrian Turkmen.

With Turkey's urging, the Syrian National Council set aside 16 seats for the Turkmen and the Syrian National Committee offered the Turkmen 3 seats.

Latakia Governorate, where the Russian Su-24 was carrying out airstrikes when it was shot down, has a number of other militias that operate or have operated there, comprised of members who, should they return to their homeland, could be or become a direct threat to Russia's (and China's) national security interests.

Northeast Latakia Governorate was an area [where] a number of salafi-jihadist militias came to consolidate after the 2014 offensive.

The FSA's Maher Hijazi Battalion is also fighting in Latakia Governorate as has the FSA's 1st Coastal Division, which received US-made TOWs through Turkey, had members trained by and received funding from Qatar, and was a member of the Jahbat Ansar al-Din coalition with several salafi-jihadist/takfiri militias.

The 1st Coastal Division has Turkmen in its ranks.

Junud al-Sham, a salafi-jihadist group of Chechen and Lebanese Sunni, also have a presence in Latakia Governorate.

The militia has allied with

This militia claims it does not side specifically with either Jahbat al-Nusrah or ISIS.

Another milita that is based in Latakia Governorate is Harakat Sham al-Islam, a salafi-jihadist militia mainly composed of Moroccans. It is designated a terrorist organization by the US. It is allied with

A member of the Jahbat Ansar al-Din alliance with Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiyya (mostly Syrian Sunnis from Aleppo Governorate), Harakat Sham al-Islam claims it is not affiliated with any other “parties” according to the neo-con think tank Institute for the Study of War.

Ajnad al-Kavkaz (previously the Khalifat Battalion), a Chechen militia loyal to the Caucasus Emirate, is also based in Latakia Governorate. It is closely allied with Jahbat al-Nusrah, who itself has elements that fight in Latakia Governorate.

Jamaat Jund al-Qawqaz formed in the Latika Governorate in late 2014. It is affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate but, according to Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, pleged allegiance to Abd al-Hakim ash-Shishani, a Caucasus Emirate member who leads his own militia, the Jamaat al-Khilafa al-Qawqazia. The Jamaat Jund al-Qawqaz is very small, and largely comprised of ethnic Circassians born in Syria by the Golan Heights and Jordan.

The JMA, a militia designated a terrorist organization by Canada and the US, also operates in Latakia Governorate. The Jamestown Foundation reported the JMA created a faction in Latakia Governorate that was based in the Jabal Turkman area and opened an “operations room” in Kurd Dagh. The militia primarily incorporates foreign fighters from all over the world organized into different battalions, but there are also Syrian brigades that joined the militia when it was created. It includes (or at one time included)

There are (or at least were at one time) also nationals from

The Guardian's Constanze Letsch reported that one JMA battalion was specifically for westerners (including people from the US, France UK, Germany, and Sweeden).

There is an interesting series of claims regarding the militia that killed 1 Russian pilot who parachuted out after the jet was shot down near Jabal al-Turkoman in Latakia Governorate.

Initially, a video came out appearing to show a body of a Russian pilot. The 'turkmen' militia who is said to have released it was the FSA-affiliated Alwiya al-Ashar.

However, in the video, a voice said the “10th Division” had captured a Russian pilot. The group's “media officer” told the Daily Telegraph both Russian pilots “arrived dead” (which was not true).

The Guardian said an individual with the 10th Coastal Brigade, called Jahed Ahmad, [who] said the group would consider exchanging the body for prisoners held by the Syrian government. This individual told the AP that the 10th Coastal Brigade opened fire on the pilots as they ejected and shot one of them, whose body they had recovered.

Russia Today - a pro-Russian Government news outlet - cited a Reuters report that a Deputy Commander, Alparslan Celik, speaking near Yamadi, held some sort of press conference claiming the Turkmen militia he is a commander of, Alwiya al-Ashar (whom the Daily Telegraph says receives arms, ammunition, and funding from Turkey and a “CIA-backed” program and has allied with Jahbat al-Nusrah, a salafi jihadist militia designated a terrorist organization by the US) killed and recovered the pilot's body. He also made the false claim that they had killed the plane's navigator.

A Hurriyet Daily News article said Celik was a Turkman Deputy Commander for the 2nd Coastal Division. An article at LiveLeak, some Tweets, and an article by DHA claimed Alpaslan Celik is a citizen of Turkey and a member of the Grey Wolves, who allegedly have some fighters on the ground with some of the Turkmen militias and are facilitating the movement of supplies, etc. across the Turkish border into Syria.

Interestingly, a separate Hurriyet Daily News article named Emrah Celik, a Turkish citizen and district organization member for the AKP in Turkey's Tekirag Province, as a volunteer fighter for the 2nd Coastal Brigade.

The Grey Wolves, an organization born out of Operation Gladio (officially to prevent a “Soviet invasion,” but [who] were instead unleashed by Turkey's army on Turkish Communists and other domestic political opponents), has been described as the paramilitary wing of the ultranationalist (some say fascist) Nationalist Movement Party (MHP, currently the 3rd largest political party in Turkey, with 12% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections). It [The Grey Wolves] is officially presented as a Pan-Turkish youth organization in the party.

As Pan-Turks, they support the Syrian Turkmen and the creation of “East Turkistan.” Post-Cold War, the Wolves established training camps abroad based on Pan-Turkish ideology. They faught against Russia in both of the wars in Chechnya. They strongly support the Turkish-speaking Uyghur minority from China's Xinjiang Province (and the Uyghur refugees in other countries), some of whom have gone to Syria to fight in the Turkistan Islamic Party for the Support of the People of al-Sham (TIPSPS), the branch of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Syria, or with Jahbat al-Nusrah.

The TIPSPS is allied with a number of salafi-jihadist militias in Syria, including

The latter 2 are primarily comprised of Uzbeks. The Imam Bukhari Jamaat is a member of the Jaysh al-Fatah coalition (who coordinates with Turkish intelligence [MIT]) that includes several other salafi-jihadist/takfiri militias, including Jahbat al-Nusrah (as mentioned earlier).

After the Russian jet was shot down and the pilot was killed, the FSA's Furquat al-Awwal al-Sahli faction downed a Russian helicopter [which was] on a mission to rescue the surviving Russian navigator with small arms fire, which killed a Russian Marine. The surviving members of the rescue team were evacuated. The malfunctioned helicopter was abandoned and the FSA's 1st Coastal Brigade used a US-made TOW to destroy it.

Endnotes

Posted by: Nobody | Dec 11, 2015 1:46:40 AM | 161