Al-Shahba Gathering leadership announces its dissolution in Aleppo countryside

Fighters in the al-Shahba Gathering during a military competency course graduation - January 3, 2024 (Al-Shahba Gathering)

Fighters in the al-Shahba Gathering during a military competency course graduation - January 3, 2024 (Al-Shahba Gathering)


The leadership of the al-Shahba Gathering announced the dissolution of the faction and the integration of its components into the ranks of al-Jabha al-Shamiya, which is affiliated with the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) in northwest Syria, after 15 months since its formation.

According to the al-Shahba Gathering’s statement issued on Thursday, April 4, the dissolution of the faction came out of a desire to preserve unity and to institutionalize military operations.

For its part, the al-Jabha al-Shamiya faction announced the integration of the al-Shahba Gathering’s formations into its ranks to organize military work and to enhance its institutions and administrations, while no statement has been issued from the National Army.

The announcement comes about three weeks after an incident where a convoy that included Turkish officials was intercepted at the Sajo roundabout near Azaz in the countryside of Aleppo, followed by the convoy’s accompanying elements firing in the air to disperse the protesters, on March 17.

Local Telegram groups (widely used in the region) circulated that the individuals who intercepted the Turkish convoy belonged to the al-Shahba Gathering, but the Gathering issued a statement denying the affiliation of the individuals to it, mentioning that notables from the area’s residents handed over part of those who intercepted the convoy, and are working on surrendering the rest to the al-Jabha al-Shamiya faction.

Al-Shahba Gathering was formed in February 2023, and in its formation announcement, it stated its goal of preserving the revolution’s goals, organizing the military ranks, and supporting the revolutionary security, police, and service institutions.

Al-Shahba Gathering is accused of being affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which holds military control in Idlib, but it denied this, as did the National Army, which denied the al-Shahba Gathering’s affiliation to it.

The announcement of the dissolution of the al-Shahba Gathering comes after steps taken by the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), the political umbrella of the National Army, in the context of arranging its ranks and structure, in its areas of control in the northern and eastern Aleppo countryside, Tel Abyad, and Ras al-Ain.

The Interim Government announced on April 3 its desire to accept those wishing to join the ranks of the National Army as “non-commissioned officers”, under ten conditions, most notably that the applicant must be of Syrian nationality, between the ages of 18 and 35, civilian and unarmed, and not convicted of a dishonorable crime.

On March 20, the Interim Government’s Ministry of Defense called on the groups in the area that are not under its jurisdiction to join the ministry under the conditions and standards of the National Army.

It mentioned that the purpose of the factions and groups joining is to “consolidate institutional work and improve the security situation in the area”.

According to the ministry, all groups that refuse to join the National Army will be dealt with by the “army units” as “outlaw groups” at the appropriate time and manner.

The Syrian National Army is composed of three corps and does not have a fixed number of elements; the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) said in 2019 that their number is 80,000 fighters, while a report by the Middle East Institute, in October 2022, mentioned that the formation unites between 50,000 to 70,000 fighters.



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