Sultan Murad Division

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Sultan Murad Division
Sultan Murat Tümeni/فرقة السلطان مراد
Participant in the Syrian Civil War and the Libyan Civil War (2014-present)
Sultan Murat Tümeni Flag.svg
Flag used by the division
Active23 March 2013[1]—present
Area of operationsAleppo Governorate
Size1,300 (2013)
550+ (2016)[15][better source needed]
Part ofSyrian National Army Ansar al-Sharia (Syria) (2015-16)
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War

Libyan Civil War (2014–present) (since 2020)[18][19][20]


The Sultan Murad Division (Arabic: فرقة السلطان مراد‎; Firqat al-Sultan Murad, Turkish: Sultan Murat Tümeni) is an armed rebel group in the Syrian Civil War, created around a Syrian Turkmen identity. It is aligned with the Syrian opposition and are heavily supported by Turkey, who provides funding and military training along with artillery and aerial support. It is the most notable group among Syrian Turkmen Brigades supported by Turkey.

Ideology and structure[edit]

Named after Ottoman Sultan Murad II, the flag of the Sultan Murad Division quotes the Shahada to express a political commitment to political Islam (Islamism), while the red field symbolizes Ottomanism.[citation needed]

Among the commanders of the group are Ahmed Othman,[10] Fehim İsa[11] and Ali Şeyh Salih, who is an ethnic Arab.[21][22]


Among the Syrian rebel groups participating in the Turkish military intervention in Syria, the Sultan Murad Division is the group that receives the most support from the Turkish Armed Forces. It operates at least 8 FNSS ACV-15 armoured personnel carriers during the operation. The group also operate Milkor MGL grenade launchers.[citation needed]

The main heavy weapons of the group consist of technical vehicles armed with heavy machine guns and autocannons. Previously it has also received BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles from the United States, although more support is given by Turkey than the US since the former's intervention.[23][better source needed]


The Sultan Murad Brigade was formed in early 2013 and mainly operated in the Aleppo Governorate. By 2016, the group claimed to have around 1,300 fighters.[24] In mid-2017, it formed the "Sultan Murad Bloc" with other units within the Syrian National Army (SNA).[25] It took part in the Turkish military intervention in Syria.

Between 4 and 15 June, heavy fighting broke out between SNA factions led by the Sultan Murad Division and Ahrar al-Sham and its allies in and near al-Bab. By 15 June, 33 people were killed and 55 injured in the infighting. On 8 June, between 60 and 70 SNA fighters, including several Sultan Murad Division commanders, defected to the Syrian Army and the Syrian Democratic Forces during the clashes.[26] According to the Hawar Kilis Operations Room, of which the Sultan Murad Division is a part, the unit led by Abu al-Kheir al-Munbaji that defected to the government had run criminal activities and was supposed to be arrested when it deserted.[27]

In early November 2019, the Homs al-Adiyyeh Brigade of the Sultan Murad Division defected to Jaysh al-Izza after the unilateral release of several Syrian Army prisoners of war by the Turkish government in the context of the Second Northern Syria Buffer Zone.[28]

According to Turkish sources and an activist in Afrin, the Sultan Murad Division was one of the groups which volunteered to send fighters to Libya as part of a Turkish operation to aid the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in December 2019.[29]

Allegations of war crimes[edit]

Torture of POWs[edit]

After their capture of the town of Jarabulus from ISIL in September 2016, Sultan Murad Division fighters published pictures of themselves torturing four YPG members prisoners of war, who were captured by the rebel group while, according to YPG claims, trying to evacuate civilians.[30] According to the YPG, two of the Sultan Murad Division fighters who had been involved in the torture of POWs were later captured and questioned by the Anti-Terror Units.[31]

Shelling of civilian areas[edit]

On 25 October 2013, the Sultan Murad Division shelled a monastery in Aleppo.[32]

According to an Amnesty International report from May 2016, indiscriminate shelling of Sheikh Maqsoud by Islamist rebel groups, including the Sultan Murad Division, killed between February and April 2016 at least 83 civilians, including 30 children, and injured more than 700 civilians.[33] Amnesty International’s regional director suggested that these repeated indiscriminate attacks constitute war crimes.[33]

A United Nations report in February 2017 came to the conclusion that during the siege of Eastern Aleppo the joint operations room of Syrian rebel factions Fatah Halab including the Sultan Murad Division, after vowing to take revenge on the Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud, intentionally attacked civilian inhabited neighbourhoods of the Kurdish enclave, killing and maiming dozens of civilians, and that these acts constitute the war crime of directing attacks against a civilian population.[34][35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sultan Murat Tümeni".
  2. ^ a b c d "#Syria, Infographic- #FSA Sultan Murad Division". 31 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Ivan Sidorenko on Twitter".
  4. ^ "Cerablus'taki Durumu, Suriye Türkmen Meclisi Bşk. Anlatıyor - Detay 13 - TRT Avaz". 7 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Liwa Sultan Süleyman Şah - a new turkmen asayish force for Jarablus". Ömer Özkizilcik on Twitter (in Turkish). 30 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Syrian Turkmen Assembly Inside "Free" Jarablus". Syrian Turkmen Assembly. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Commander of the "rebels Khalidiya" .. fought in Homs and Idlib and was assassinated in the door". Enab Baladi. 20 June 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b "Turkish Forces and Rebels Storm Into Syria, Taking IS Stronghold of Jarablus". VOA. 24 August 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "TÜRKMEN KOMUTANIMIZ ALİ SALİH ŞEHİT DÜŞTÜ". 4 October 2016. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016.
  14. ^ [1] Suriye Türkmen Meclisi المجلس التركماني السوري
  15. ^ "InfoGraphic: Sultan Murad Division Armed faction in Syria". Archicivilians. 10 November 2016.
  16. ^ Khaled Khatib (26 May 2017). "Aleppo: opposition to end "the Knights of the Revolution"". Al-Modon.
  17. ^
  18. ^ SOHR: 13,000 Pro-Turkey Mercenaries Arrive in Libya, May 19, 2020
  19. ^ LNA: Commander of the Turkey-backed Syrian “Sultan Murad Brigade” killed in Tripoli, May 30, 2020
  20. ^ Dozens of Syrian mercenaries in Libya killed in 1 week Egypt Today, March 28, 2020
  21. ^ [2] IŞİD Tarafından Öldürülen Komutan: Ali Şeyh Salih
  22. ^ "Sultan Murat Tugayları: Önce Çobanbey ardından Menbiç'e ilerleyeceğiz". 25 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Rebel Soldiers 5 / The Sultan Murad Division". Historic Blog. 19 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Sultan Murat Tümeni". 16 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Deir al-Zour military council to join the bloc Sultan Murad north of Aleppo". Qasioun News Agency. 17 July 2017.
  26. ^ Uğur Ergan (15 June 2017). "Turkey confirms internal fight in Free Syrian Army". Hürriyet Daily News.
  27. ^ "How did a military group get Assad-held areas of northern Aleppo". Al-Dorar al-Shamia. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  28. ^ "The "free" handover of regime's prisoners and violations of the Turkey-loyal factions open doors of anger and resentment in the ranks of the "National Army," leaked recordings of members of "Ahrar al-Sharqiyyah": the blame is on the minister of defense and faction leaders, not Turkey, and mercenaries now steal their parents and consider it as spoils of war • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 2019-11-02. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  29. ^ Ragip Soylu; Harun al-Aswad (27 December 2019). "Turkey to send Syrian rebel fighters to battle Haftar in Libya". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  30. ^ "YPG holds Turkey-backed rebels accountable for torturing Kurdish fighters". ARA News. 2016-09-01. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  31. ^ "Syrian rebels captured by YPG confess to torturing Kurdish fighters". Rudaw Media Network. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  32. ^ "Targeting Christian Places of Worship in Syria" (PDF). Syrian Network for Human Rights.
  33. ^ a b "Syria: armed opposition group committing war crimes in Aleppo - new evidence". Amnesty International. 13 May 2016.
  34. ^ "Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic" (PDF). United Nations. 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  35. ^ "UN says Syrian rebel shelling of Kurds 'a war crime'". ARA News. 2017-03-02. Retrieved 2017-03-02.