Syrian Turkmen - who are they? Whose side are Syrian Turkmen fighting on?


The existence of such a people as Syrian Turkmen who were interested in the events in Syria could be found relatively recently, after a Russian bomber was shot down from the Turkish border. Pilots who managed to eject were shot in the air. One of them died, the fate of the second for some time information was contradictory. Syrian Turkmen who shot at the Russians claimed that they had killed both pilots. Later from reliable sources it became known that the co-pilot was rescued and taken out during a search and rescue operation.


Who are the Syrian Turkmen? What is the position of the current war?

If you delve into the story …

The first mentions of the appearance of the Turkmen and Oguz tribes in the region date back to the 9th century. Basically, the settling of the lands of the Middle East and Asia Minor by the Central Asian peoples began in the ХІ century, when the Seljuks established their rule here with the help of the Turkish militia. Under the onslaught of the Mongols, the Seljuk Empire disintegrated. During the rule of the Ottomans (from the 14th century until 1922), Syrian Turkmen on the lands of modern Syria (Aleppo, Hama, Lattakia, Homs, Tartus, Idlib, Jarablus) defended pilgrims, in accordance with the canons of Muslims who annually performed the hajj. Since that time, numerous representatives of this people live in these areas.

During the French occupation, some people moved to Damascus.

Grains of discontent

Before the outbreak of the civil war, approximately one-sixth of Syria was settled by Turkmen. According to various estimates, their number is about 3 and a half million, one and a half million speak their native language. The majority religion is Sunni (the most numerous branch of Islam), there are also Alawites (one of the most mysterious religious Islamic movements).

Mostly representatives of this nationality are engaged in the shoe business, they own factories in the city of Aleppo, the workers of these enterprises are also Turkmen. Among them are politicians, cultural figures, the military and scientists (in particular, the former Minister of Defense of Syria, Hassan al-Turkmeni).

In the 1930s, as a result of the assimilation policy pursued by the Syrian government, representatives of this people were deprived of many rights. They did not have the opportunity to unite in circles and parties. They were forbidden to communicate, publish books, learn in their native language.

Until a certain time in their camp, discontent with the current government was ripe.

What preceded the big conflict?

Between 2006 and 2011, more than half of Syrian lands were ravaged by drought. The lack of talent of economic policy led to desertification of lands, destruction of crops and livestock. According to the UN and the Red Cross in 2010, about a million people were on the verge of starvation.

The rural population massively went to the cities. In the city of Aleppo in 2011, there were 200 thousand refugees. Unemployment was 20%. Political forces that did not agree with the authorities were outlawed.

Demanding socially fair decisions, the ethnic and religious groups of the Sunnis, the Alawites, the Kurds, and the Christians united and rose up to fight.

Causes of explosion

Sources believe that the main reason for the beginning of the Arab Spring is a ripe and bursting boil of people's discontent with the authoritarian rule of the current president, corruption in the higher echelons of power, aggravation of religious contradictions, etc.

According to political analysts, the internal problems of Syria proved to be fertile ground for fueling external conflict.

"Fire to the wick" brought from the outside.

According to the journalists of The Wall Street Journal Nur Malas and Carol Lee, for several years, representatives of the US presidential administration held secret talks with employees of the Syrian government apparatus on the subject of recruiting people willing to promote the military coup and dismissal of the current president.

Chronicle of the protests

A month before the outbreak of unrest (at the end of January 2011), the extremist organization Syrian Revolution launched a Facebook call for an uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad.

Initially, anti-government speeches were scattered, up to the mass actions that broke out on March 15 in Darayya. The uprising resembled scenarios in Tunisia and Egypt. Soon the protests turned into a nationwide full-scale uprising.

Tanks were deployed against the insurgents, water and electricity were cut off in especially rebellious areas, security forces confiscated food and flour from people.

Government troops besieged the cities of Darayya, Aleppo, Hama Duma, Homs, Lattakia, and others. Soldiers who refused to shoot at civilians were shot on the spot.

The rebels and army defectors formed combat detachments that deployed an armed company against the government army. That was how the Free Army of Syria was created. Fierce clashes began throughout the country.

Escalation of violence

The authorities reacted with ruthless suppression of unrest, rumors about the atrocities of the regular army units towards the residents of the insurgent cities spread throughout the country.

European Union sanctions were imposed against Syria. But the escalation of the conflict gained momentum, the number of victims grew.

At the turn of 2011-2012, the government begins to use artillery and tanks against the rebels. On December 26, in Homs, tanks shoot at residential buildings.

In some states, protest actions against the Assad regime are taking place, the participants are committing pogroms in the embassies of Syria. The United States and Great Britain withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus.

In April 2012, Assad is trying to peacefully resolve the conflict. The country declares a truce, take UN observers.

For the first time in half a century in Syria, elections are held on a multiparty basis in which the National Unity bloc (the Baath Party) wins.

Despite the declared peace, armed clashes continue.

Participation in the confrontation of other countries

Other states are included in the standoff: the Syrian rebels are financed and armed by the oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Iran advocates for the Syrian government. The Russian Federation supplies Assad defensive weapons.

In the summer of 2012, Turkey openly entered the conflict: on June 22, a Turkish fighter was shot down over the territory of Syria.

The UN and the Red Cross officially recognize the conflict in Syria as a civil war.

Russian help

In March 2015, anti-government forces one after another take control of the Syrian cities. In the captured Palmyra, ISIS perpetrated mass executions, dealing with 400-450 civilian, supporting soldiers and the government (mostly women).

After ISIL in the summer of 2015, 60, 000 civilians were ousted in Al-Hasakah.

Soon the number of refugees, according to UN estimates, reached 200 thousand.


In the summer of 2015, the United States discovered evidence of cooperation between Turkish officials and ISIS.

In September, ISIL ousted the troops of Assad from Idlib province, seized the last oil field (“Jazal”), which is under the control of government forces, the Abu al-Duhur airbase.

Assad turns to the Russians for help, and on September 30, Russian planes began to operate on the militants' infrastructure with pinpoint strikes. After a week-long sweep of Russian aviation, the victorious large-scale offensive of the Syrian army began, during which government forces resumed control over most of the country.

On which side are Syrian Turkmen?

According to the Associated Press, representatives of this people were among the first to support an armed rebellion against the current president, with the assistance and assistance of Ankara.


In 2012, the Syrian Turkmen create their own army, numbering more than 10 thousand people. The armed forces are stationed in several areas of Iraq and Syria. The militias are waging war against President Assad and the IG groups. From reliable sources it is known that the special forces instructors from the patron power were training the militants of their brigades.

Syrian Turkmen and Turkey

After the outbreak of civil war in Syria, the situation of the people in the country deteriorated significantly. He found himself face to face with serious opponents: the army of Bashar al-Assad, the radical fundamentalists of the Islamic State and the Kurdish groups. Ankara acted as patron. Syrian Turkmen and Turkey - what's the connection? Representatives of this nationality living in Syria and Iraq are in close relationship with the people living in Turkey, who agree to support them in every way in exchange for the obligation to move along the path of a favorable policy.

It is clear that Ankara is concerned not so much with the problems of the people oppressed in Syria, as with their own interests - political and economic.

With the help of the Turkmen detachments, the necessary counterbalance to the Kurdish self-defense is being created at the border. In addition, they are involved in ensuring smuggling interaction with the IG. Political analysts do not rule out that Ankara seeks, by becoming the initiator of strengthening separatist sentiments among the Turkmen, over time to include in its membership the lands of Syria on which they live.

Positioning itself as the protector of the oppressed people, Ankara covers the planned incidents with the protection of its interests.

Syrian question

According to reliable information, Turkey is actively involved in the so-called Syrian issue.

One of the projects to destabilize the "enemy", organized by Ankara, are Syrian Turkmen. For whom are the representatives of this third largest nation in the country fighting? How were they involved in someone else's game? What is prepared in this game for them?

Ankara began helping its tribesmen back in the 90s, when the organization of mutual aid to the oppressed Bayir-Budjak was created.

In 2011, the Syrian Turkmen Movement was also created, the purpose of which is to call on people to participate in the uprising against Assad.

Several bureaus are being set up in the cities of Turkey and on the border with fixed “zones of responsibility”: the uprising in Aleppo is led from the Gazanti Office, the rebels in Latakia from Yayladagi, the rebels in Al-Raqqa from Akjal.

In addition, the "Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement" controls the activities of the opposition in Syria. Among the planned measures of the organization - the release of the press in their native language, the creation of radio, schools. The goal of the activists is the Turkization of the northern lands of Syria, which in the future may make it possible to demand separation, autonomy, and the accession of lands to the neighboring, "friendly" country.


Syrian Turkmen create their own army, actively interacting with the rebel gangs. At the moment there are 14 militarized units. They are united in the "Brigade of the Turkmen Mountains". Militants of Lattakia are commanded by Muhammad Awad, in Aleppo, Ali Basher is the military commander of the rebels.


Although militarized groups have been fighting with government troops, Kurdish militia and ISIL since 2012, in August 2015 the leader of the Mejlis declared the need to form the Turkmen army officially in Syria. The army must protect the people from the ethnic cleansing conducted by the enemy, expelling them from the inhabited cities. So the cleansing of Syrian Turkmen by Kurds in the city of Tell-Abyad forced twenty thousand inhabitants to flee. The troops of Assad drove them also from Homs, Raki and other cities.

The number of the proposed army was determined at 5 thousand people. There are 1 thousand members of opposition organizations. Most likely, the soldiers from the Turkish special forces were supposed to pass off as militiamen.

Turkish gambit

It must be said that the goals of the Syrian rebels and Ankara differ somewhat.

Firstly, the opposition does not accept the draft of Ankara, which provides for the federalization of the country. Interested special services are forced to bear in mind that their wards prefer “united Syria”. Thus, to please the latter, Ankara undertook the creation of the project “Syrian Turkmen Platform”, at the founding conference of which the rebels were promised every kind of support. Some Turkish businessmen have already joined the project, having outlined for themselves further participation in the politics of the country liberated from Assad.

Secondly, the activities of the IG, against which the Turkmen groups are fighting, are advantageous to Ankara. In fact, by attacking the Russian plane in November 2015, Turkey supported the IG. According to reliable data, its public funds and organizations provide IG significant assistance. Ankara controls the strategically important sections of the border that allow the transit of oil from the regions controlled by the IG to Turkey, and from there to the IG lands the transit of goods, weapons and uniforms necessary for the militants is supported.

For Ankara, it is very important to control the Turkmen population and support anti-government sentiment in it.

In fact, the people are hostages of Ankara’s foreign policy aggression. With her submission, he became a party to a bloody conflict.

Military strikes against Syrian Turkmen by the Assad troops, the Kurds and the IG lead to huge casualties and an increase in the number of refugees among them. Ankara has certain political dividends in this situation.

Exchanging rumors about the genocide of the Turkmen people, conducted by the Assad clan, allegedly in order to give the fertile lands to the Alavites - to their co-religionists, Ankara emphasizes its role as a protector of the oppressed kindred people. Thus, the government seeks to enlist the support of its own citizens in the confrontation with the ruling Syrian regime.

A new enemy that was received from the “easy” filing of neighbors by Syrian Turkmen - Russia. And they have nothing left but to fight with her.

What's next?

According to Reuters, since the start of operations in Syria (September 2015), in the framework of assistance to President Assad until the tragic day of the death of the Russian pilot (November 24), Russia has bombed Syrian Turkmen 17 times. According to the representative of the Russian military, around the cities of Kesladshuk, Salma, Gmam, where the majority of the population are representatives of this people, the bases of the rebel formations that fight the current president are concentrated, and with the help of air strikes they managed to destroy the bunkers with stored ammunition, command posts, factory On which shahid belts were made.

According to the testimony of journalists, the result of the Russian bombing was a significant number of civilian casualties, thousands of families fled to the border.


On November 24, the Turkish Air Force shot down the Russian Su-24 under the pretext of violating the border. Representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation deny border violations. A bomber fell from it a few kilometers away in Syria. From the ground, from the location of the Turkmen group, the Russian pilots were ejected by the ejection pilots. The commander was killed, the navigator rescued. As a result of a mortar attack on a Mi-8 helicopter, a marine contract soldier was killed.

On the day after the incident, the President of the Russian Federation announced that Russian bombers were conducting an operation against the ISIS in Latakia (the center of the gangs).

The Turkish President said that only peaceful people live in this area and Ankara has an obligation to protect them.

According to Western journalists, after the incident, the bombing of Syrian Turkmen by Russian aviation acquired a massive character. According to witnesses, such an intensity of air strikes has not been since the beginning of the war. Russian aviation in Latakia destroyed the position of the Free Syrian Army and the housing of ordinary citizens.


The military actions forced more than seven thousand people to leave their homes. According to Anadolu, in search of more peaceful areas in the last days of November last year, more than two thousand representatives of the people fled to the south of the patron country.

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