An infamous tank hunter of Turkish-backed forces in Syria is reportedly attempting to travel to Ukraine to fight Russian forces there.
The militant, Suheil al-Hammoud, first expressed his desire to fight in Ukraine on February 25, just a day after the beginning of the Russian special military operation which is meant to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country. In a tweet, al-Hammoud asked his follower on Twitter how he could get to Ukraine to fight the Russians.
How can I go to Ukraine and fight alongside the Ukrainian army Is there a way I’m ready
— سهيل أبو التاوو (@suheilhammoud) February 25, 2022
Later, al-Hammoud, who claims to be the best TOW anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) operator in Syria, announced that he was in contact with the Ukrainian embassy in Turkey.
In an interview with al-Aan journalist Jenan Mousa on March 2, al-Hammoud stressed again that he serious about his offer to go fight Russian forces in Ukraine.
Well-known Syrian rebel @suheilhammoud tells me he is serious about his offer to go fight with the Ukrainian army. “There is no difference between war in Ukraine and war in Syria. The enemy is one.”pic.twitter.com/lFxEdN83RG
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) March 2, 2022
Al-Hammoud, also known by his nom de guerre “Abu Tow,” was a senior commander in the Hazzm Movement, a US-backed group that was active in northern Syria. The group was dissolved in 2015 after a confrontation with the al-Nusra Front, now rebranded as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
After the dismissal of Hazzm, al-Hammoud joined the ranks of Turkey’s main proxy in Syria, the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA). He became a TOW ATGM operator for the SNA, targeting both Syrian government forces and Kurdish forces.
Al-Hammoud claims that he has destroyed 146 targets with TOW ATGMs since the beginning of his career as an anti-government militant. The last target to be destroyed by al-Hammoud on March 1 was a position of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo.
قبل تدمير الهدف 146 على جبهة ريف حلب
1 / 3 / 2022 pic.twitter.com/h05VXDghiZ
— سهيل أبو التاوو (@suheilhammoud) March 1, 2022
While al-Hammoud claims that he wants to “volunteer” to fight Russian forces in Ukraine, recent reports revealed a plot to send militants from Syria to support the forces of Kiev government. A Ukraine-based Syrian drug kingpin with links to al-Qaeda known as Tariq al-Jasim will reportedly lead the efforts to move militants from Syria to Ukraine.
The Russian military may move to neutralize Turkish-backed Syrian militants planning to leave to Ukraine on Syria territory, where it maintains a large and capable force.