The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has neutralized one of its formations, the so-called 23rd Division, Syrian opposition sources reported on August 8.
The SNA’s 3rd Corps led a large attack on the 23rd Division headquarters and positions in Afrin city and the town of Azaz in northern Aleppo. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the division’s leaders, including the General-Commander, were arrested by the SNA.
Opposition sources said the offensive was carried out by the al-Shamiya Front, a formation of the 3rd Corps. However, this was denied by the SNA.
Serageldin al-Omar, head of the 3rd Corps’ media office, told Enab Baladi that the 23rd Division was neutralized on the basis of an executive order by the corps.
“The Corps decision was the result of lawsuits against the 23rd Division and some administrative corruption,” al-Omar told Enab Baladi.
The SNA’s 3rd Corps and the al-Shamiya Front themselves are infamous for their corruption and involvement in criminal activities in Turkish-occupied areas in northern and northeastern Syria. This rises serious questions about the real motives behind the neutralization of the 23rd Division.
Disagreements related to criminal activities are behind most of the SNA’s conflicts. The Turkish-backed coalition often attempts to present these conflicts as a “war on corruption” in its ranks.