On May 28, three Turkish-backed armed groups in northern Syria merged in a new formation led by the Syrian National Army (SNA) called the 13th Division.
In a joint statement, the groups, the Mehmed the Conqueror Division, the Samarkand Brigade and the Waqqas Brigade, said that the step is meant organize military forces in Turkish-occupied areas in northern and northeastern Syria.
The three groups are among the smallest factions of the SNA, which was formed in 2017 to unify Turkish-backed groups and place them under a single command.
Despite the formation of the SNA, Turkish-backed groups maintained their separate, independent command. Due to this, many intra-rebel conflicts broke out over the last three years. Many groups also defected from certain SNA units, or merged to form their own.
Last April, two SNA factions, the 9th Division – Special Forces and the North Brigade, announced that they had formed the 1st Brigade. Prior to that, the Suleyman Shah Division announced its defection from the SNA’s 1st Corps.
The SAN is present as a unified, centric rebel force in the media only. In reality, SNA factions are fighting each other in Turkish-occupied area over influence and money.
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