A prominent commander of the Turkish-backed al-Hamzah Division had defected to Syrian government forces, a number of Syrian opposition news sources reported on November 27.
Al-Hamzah Division is one of the key factions of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army. The group is mainly based in the northern Aleppo countryside. However, it is present in all Turkish-occupied areas in Syria.
The commander, known only by his nom de guerre “Abu Mariam,” fled to the government-held part of the northern Aleppo countryside taking with him a military vehicle and weapons. Abu Mariam was reportedly the top commander of al-Hamza forces at al-Sukariyah front.
The al-Hamzah Division was quick to deny the reports of Abu Mariam defection. Majid al-Halabi, an official in the faction’s Media Office, told Hibr Press that the commander was ambushed by the Syrian Arab Army.
“What happened was an infiltration by Assad’s forces, who set up an ambush on the borders of Sukariyah … Abu Maryam conducted a reconnaissance tour with two fighters in the area, then he encountered people who turned out to be from Assad’s forces … clashes broke out between them,” al-Halabi said, adding that the commander was killed along with one of his fighters while the other fighter is still missing.
The Syrian state-run media, which usually announce such defections, have not reported anything on the matter as of now.
Over the past few years, many Turkish-backed militants defected to Syrian government forces or the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. All the defectors were however from the lower ranks.
Many is a relative.