A large number of recruits now want to go to the Turkmen Mountain, a border area in Syria’s Latakia province, to help and fight with native Turkmen militants who are under growing threat from Russian air strikes and government advances.
Written by Mario Andrijasevic exclusively for SouthFront
The independent news organization Middle East Eye is reporting that tens of thousands of Turkish men “expressed a desire” to join the Turkmen rebel groups who fight against the Syrian regime and Russian forces in Syria.
Reportedly there is already somewhere between 250 – 500 Turkish citizens in Latakia who joined mostly Turkmen rebels, among which there has been already many reported casualties.
There is also thousands of Turkish citizens who and are already fighting in Syria and these individuals have joined forces with ISIS or the al-Nusra Front. Kursat Mican, the Istanbul chairman of Alperen Ocaklari which is a cultural and political organization founded by right-wing religious nationalists, says that since November 24th when Turkey shot down a Russian jet, he has been busy receiving phone calls from potential recruits.
“They are calling me to ask how they can go join the Turkmen rebels,” Mican told MEE in the group’s Uskudar office.
So far he counted about 12,000 people who joined the rebels, but after that they stopped counting.
“We tell them ‘we cannot take you, but if you want to go, we will tell you where to show up, and you can go on your own.’ If someone actually organizes things, I think 10,000 people would go to Syria,” he added.
Mican considers the Russian airstrikes against the Turkmen, a genocide. He says his group is “just one of many organizations now waging an awareness campaign about the battle in the Turkmen Mountain.”
One individual, named Mehmet, stepped forward and spoke for MEE. He said that while he was fighting in northern Turkmen Mountain, the conditions were horrible.
“There are only a few villages left which are controlled by the rebels and we are surrounded, but God willing, we have enough fighters to stop the Russian advance,” he said.
He says that there is no Daesh or al-Nusra forces in that area, only FSA. Therefor he wonders why is Russia constantly dropping bombs there. He believes that Russia wants war with Turkey. Therefore, he says, “they want to take this area so they can bomb Turkey.”
According to Turkish officials, Russia conducted more than 500 air strikes in the Turkmen Mountain area since September, which forced about 10,000 Turkmen to flee across the border. According to vice-chairman of the Syrian Turkmen National Movement Party Tariq Solu, only 3 of more than 40 villages are still controlled by around 2,000 Turkmen.
As already known, the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called the Turkmen “our siblings who have lived there for centuries,” and accused Moscow of “trying to ethnically cleanse northern Latakia”.
Omer Behram Ozdemir, a researcher at Sakarya University who focuses on the Syrian war, told MEE that hundreds of Turks are probably fighting in the Turkmen Mountain and goes on that many Turks have participated in foreign wars in the past, such as the Balkan wars in the 90´s and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.