The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Euphrates Shield (ES) area in the northern Aleppo countryside is withdrawing from civilian areas, the US-based Al-Monitor online newspaper reported on September 12.
According to the report, a major part of the FSA groups in ES is redeploying its fighters to newly built military bases outside civilian areas.
Mu’tasim Brigade, Sultan Murad Division, Levant Front Ahrar al-Sham and the Hamza Division are among the armed groups that’s moving to bases, according to the report.
“The Hamza Division has decided to evacuate all its military posts in al-Bab and nearby towns to ensure the safety of civilians, end its military presence in the city and avoid clashes between civilians and armed men that normally lead to terrorizing innocent people. The decision took effect in early August.” Abdullah Halawa, commander of the Hamza Division in al-Bab told Al-Monitor.
The FSA is looking to achieve many goals by this move starting with clearing the civilians areas from violence and other forms of a bad behavior that have been a result of the armed presence among civilians. Another reason is that the leadership of these FSA groups will have much more control over its fighters when they are deployed in military bases.
Colonel Ahmad Osman leader of al-Sultan Murad Division told Al-Monitor that among their goals is building a national army based on the traditional military approach away from the public life.
The FSA has never made such a serious attempt to become an organized force, and there is no doubts that Turkey is the main sponsor of this effort.
Since its foundation in 2011, FSA groups have always been deploying most of its fighters in civilian areas. This made the FSA an armed militia that lacks any form of discipline.