Hundreds of “National Police” members have been deployed to Afrin city and tasked with keeping the peace in the region after receiving military training in Turkey.
The “National Police” General Commander, Major General Abderrazaq Aslan al-Laaz, said in an interview on Sunday 27 May that the number of members in the area was between 650 and 700. Al-Laaz said that police are currently being deployed to Afrin city, and that this would be extended to the surrounding countryside over the coming days.
Al-Laaz added to Enab Baladi that the deployed members included officers and junior officers, as well as newer recruits.
The goals of the police in the area are to focus on peace-keeping, maintaining stability, and security investigations in the areas included in the Turkish military’s operation “Olive Branch” as well as Afrin city.
Turkey launched an operation against the Kurdish “PYD” militia in Afrin on 20 January 2018, with the support of factions within the “Free Syrian Army”. The operation’s forces succeeded in taking control of the whole area in approximately two months.
After assuming full control, operation “Olive Branch” formed local councils within an interim Afrin city council in mid-April. This was then followed by councils for the Balbal, Jendiris, and Shuran regions, as well as a council for the Sheikh Jadid area and Raju city on 29 April.
The “National Police” members have been trained in Turkey. Turkish media had pointed out after “Olive Branch” took full control of Afrin that Turkish authorities wanted to train 1,000 Syrians to operate as the city’s police force.
Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Aleppo Governorate reported that Colonel Rami Talaas (known as Abu Yousuf) has been appointed commander of the “Free Syrian Army Police” in Afrin. Abu Yousuf was previously a military commander in Eastern Ghouta, and originates from Rastan town in northern Homs Governorate.
The “National Police” is relied upon to return security to Afrin, after the theft and chaos that the region witnessed following the takeover by FSA factions.
According to Enab Baladi’s sources, there is currently no contact between the police in northern Aleppo Governorate and police in Afrin. The Afrin area has been administratively assigned to Turkey’s Hatay region, while the administration of the towns and cities of Aleppo Governorate have been assigned to Gaziantep.
The Afrin region has received hundreds of displaced people from Rif Dimashq Governorate over recent days, who have been settled in refugee camps in Jendiris and in surrounding villages. Some displaced persons have also been settled in Afrin city.
The entry of migrants into Afrin has led to widespread resentment among Kurdish residents, who have said that the civilians entering Afrin and the surrounding areas have taken possession of houses belonging to the local population, who have been prevented from returning until now.
The “National Police” in Aleppo Governorate previously received training in Turkey, and graduates have been assigned roles at security posts in towns and cities controlled by “Free Syrian Army” factions affiliated to Turkey prior “Euphrates Shield” operation.
According to Turkish sources, 5631 Syrians have been given training in five schools belonging to the Turkish police academy since December 2016, before receiving duties in the cities of al-Bab, Azaz, and Jarablus.