osint: (A) NAMES OF JIHADIST AND OTHER GROUPS WHOSE AFFILIATES TURKEY HAs DEPLOYED TO FIGHT IN KARABAKH, (B) NAMES OF THEse AFFILIATES, AND (C) DETAILS OF TURKEY’S DIRECT INVOLVEMENT IN THE KARABAKH WAR

Below are the evolving lists of jihadist and other groups (Lists A.1) whose members have been  reportedly deployed by Turkey to fight in Karabakh that I compiled using information that I found in mainstream English-language news and/or analytical sources. I have also compiled a list of some of the individual members of these groups who have been dispatched to fight in Karabakh, but obviously there are more to add (List B1.) . Much more, unfortunately. I have also begun to compile a list of evidence of the Turkish military’s direct involvement in preparation and execution of Azerbaijan military’s attempted offensives (Lists C.1 and C.2).


Errare humanum est and my area of expertise is Russia/FSU, not Syria, so if you see any yikes or wish to amplify or suggest update, do let me know in comments.

You can also download these lists in PDF format, which preserves original formatting with bullet points, by clicking on the link below.

Latest update: October 17.

Table A.1: The following jihadist and other groups have had their members reportedly deployed by Turkey to fight in Karabakh, according to information I found in in mainstream internationally recognized English-language news and/or analytical sources:  

NoName of group, whose present and/or past affiliates have been deployed to Azerbaijan to fightNumber of present and/or past affiliates deployed to Azerbaijan to fight, Number of KIAsDescription of the groupSources cited by following organizations:
1ISISN/A Reuters, 09.29.30, Veysi Dag of University London in Open Democracy, 10.02.20. (Russia’s state agency TASS quotes Macron as saying 300 with ties to ISIS have been deployed, but I could not find any international media report that quotes Macron as saying that)
2Ahrar al-ShamN/AReuters, 09.28.20, MSN, 10.08.20, Stanford, RFE/RL, 09.30.20, Independent, 10.09.20, Veysi Dag of University London in Open Democracy, 10.02.20.    
3Jaysh al-NukhbaN/A from international news organizations, but Armenpress reports at least 11 KIA in Karabakh.Reuters, 09.28.20, RFE/RL, 09.30.20,  also reported by RF government funded Sputnik.
4Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Veysi Dag of University London in Open Democracy, 10.02.20, , BBC, 08.01.16, Reuters, 10.06.20 (quoting Russian foreign intelligence chief Naryshkin, who referred to it as al-Nusra),
5Jaysh Al-Islam300, deployed on Oct. 9Veysi Dag of University London in Open Democracy, 10.02.20, Guardian, 11.07.13, Syrian Observer, 11.07.18. The National, 10.10.20
6Jaysh al-Nasr  Veysi Dag of University London in Open Democracy, 10.02.20, Jamestown, 03.02.17, Al Jazeera, 07.18.19,  
7Hamza faction of the “Syrian National Army” (SNA)500 individuals, 4 KIA in Karabakh, according to Armenpresssuspected former ISIS fighter Ebu Bekir, according to Intercept.Daily Beast, however, it is headed as of 2020 by Turkman Sayf Balud who has previously appeared in an ISIS propaganda video and who has been described as Sayf Balud as former ISIS commander.Hamza Division was vetted by the Pentagon in 2016 and then armed and trained by the U.S. to battle against ISIS.Daily Beast, 09.28.20, Intercept, 10.26.20, Study of War, 10.09.19, Reuters, 09.29.30. Guardian, 09.30.20, Reuters, 10.06.20 (quoting Russian foreign intelligence chief Naryshkin) The New York Book Review, 10.16.20, Kommersant, 10.16.20.    
8Sultan Murad faction of the “Syrian National Army”500 individualsPOWSwell stocked” with new supplies of U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles.  Out of the 28 factions, which formed SNA, a total of 14 were recipients of the U.S.-supplied  TOW anti-tank guided missiles, according to Turkey’s pro-government SETA think-tank.Daily Beast, 09.28.20, Reuters, 10.19.15. SETA, October 2019, Independent,  06.16.20, Guardian, 09.28.20, Reuters, 10.06.20 (quoting Russian foreign intelligence chief Naryshkin), Jerusalem Post, 10.14.20) The New York Book Review, 10.16.20  
9Suleyman Shah faction of the “Syrian National Army”A total of 1,000 fighters from Suleiman Shah, Sultan Murad,  and Al Hamza factions are participating in fighting in Karabakh, according to Guardian,POWS    Fox News, 10.04.20, Syria Direct, 01.15.20, Independent,  06.16.20, Guardian, 10.02.20. The New York Book Review, 10.16.20, Kommersant, 10.16.20.              
     

Table A.2: In addition, the following groups have been reported to have members deployed to fight in Karabakh by the Armenian media, Russian media and Middle East Eye,[1] but I am yet to complete search in mainstream international media to try verify these reports.  I only included those groups, to the existence of which I could find reference in mainstream sources.

 Name of group, whose present and/or past affiliates have been deployed to Azerbaijan to fightNumber of present and/or past affiliates deployed to Azerbaijan to fight/Number of KIAs  Description of the groupSources cited by following organizations:
1Al Furqan N/A from international news organizations, but Armenpress reports at least 32 KIA in Karabakh.If Al Furqan refers to Alwyia Al-Furqan, then it is Sunni Jihadist organization, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.Armenpress, 09.28.20, Aaron Y. Zelin in Jihadology.net, 05.14.13.
2Levant FrontN/A from international news organizations, but Armenpress reports at least 22 KIA in Karabakh and Macron was quoted as saying 300 jihadists from the Aleppo region, where this group is based, have been deployed.Syrian rebel group based around Aleppo.Armenpress, 09.28.20, MiddleEastEye, 09.29.20., Le Figaro,10.02.20, Liberation, 10.02.20.
3Faylaq al-Sham Syrian Sunni Islamist rebel groupMiddleEastEye, 09.29.20, Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
4Samarkand Brigade  MiddleEastEye, 09.29.20, also reported by RF-government-funded Sputnik.
5Malik Shah faction Asia Times, (Hong Kong-based English language news media publishing group 10.07.20
7PMC SADAT and Syrian National Army Kommersant, 10.16.20.  

[1] London-based online news outlet covering events in the Middle East. MEE describes itself as an “independently funded online news organization that was founded in April 2014. According to Michael Rubin, MEE fills the gap as Qatar’s chief agent of influence

Table B.1: The following individual members of jihadist and other groups whose members have been reportedly deployed by Turkey to fight in Karabakh,  according to information I found in mainstream internationally recognized English-language news and/or analytical sources.  

[1] London-based online news outlet covering events in the Middle East. MEE describes itself as an “independently funded online news organization that was founded in April 2014. According to Michael Rubin, MEE fills the gap as Qatar’s chief agent of influence

NoName or pseudonym, place of residencePresent or past affiliation with groupDescription of individual and/or group he is affiliated withSources cited by following organizations:
1N/A, northern SyriaAhrar al-ShamThe individual is getting paid for participation in fighting in KarabakhSee Entry No. 1 in Table A.1. above for description of the Ahrar al-Sham group. Reuters, 09.28.20, Stanford)  
2N/A, northern SyriaJaish al-Nukhba (“Elite Army”)The individual is getting paid for participation in fighting in KarabakhSee Entry No. 2 in Table A.1. above for description of the Jaish al-Nukhba group.Reuters, 09.28.20, RFE/RL, 09.30.20
3Kinan FerzatSultan Murad faction of “Syrian National Army”See Entry No. 8 in Table A.1. above for description of the Sultan Murad group.Fox News, 10.04.20.  Syria Direct, 01.15.20. Independent,  06.16.20, The Guardian, 09.28.20. Also reported by Modern Diplomacy, 10.07.20
4Omar, IdlibSultan Murad faction of “Syrian National Army”See Entry No. 8 in Table A.1. above for description of the Sultan Murad group.Guardian, 09.28.20.
5Muhammad (pseudonym), city of Azaz located north-northwest of AleppoSultan Murad faction of “Syrian National Army”Muhammad was summoned to a military camp in Afrin on 13 September and   told by a commander in the Turkish-backed Sultan Murad division that work was available guarding observation posts and oil and gas facilities in Azerbaijan on three or six month contracts at 7,000-10,000 Turkish lira (£700-£1,000) a month – significantly more than they could earn at home.See Entry No. 8 in Table A.1. above for description of the Sultan Murad group.Guardian, 09.28.20.
6Mahmoud (pseudonym), AzazSultan Murad faction of “Syrian National Army”See Entry No. 8 in Table A.1. above for description of the group.Guardian, 09.28.20.
7Muhammed Shaalan from the town of Al Atarib, KIAShaalan’s unit in Hamza faction of the “Syrian National Army” (SNA)See Entry No. 9 in Table A.1. above for description of the Hamza group.Guardian, 09.30.20. Also reported by Modern Diplomacy, 10.07.20
8Hussein Talha, from Ain Jara village, KIAShaalan’s unit in Hamza faction of SNASee Entry No. 9 in Table A.1. above for description of the Hamza group.Guardian, 09.30.20.
9Sadam Aziz Azkor of the settlement of al Kareem, KIAShaalan’s unit Hamza faction of SNASee Entry No. 9 in Table A.1. above for description of the Hamza group.Guardian, 09.30.20.
10Abu Ahmad, (pseudonym), 26 years oldnorth Syria/described as pro-Turkish, but no affiliation specifiedSays went to fight for $2,000 a monthAFP, 10.03.20.
11Mohammad Shaaban, KIAN/A AFP, 10.03.20.
12Name not specifiedFrom town of Atareb in Aleppo province, serving in an unit commanded by Mohammad Shaaban, described as pro-Turkish, but no affiliation specified AFP, 10.03.20.
13Name not specified,Affiliated with one of SNA’s factionsSays went to fight for 1$,500 a month.CNN, 10.01.20
14Mustafa Khalid, 23 years oldFrom Idlib, Sultan Murad faction of “Syrian National Army”See Entry No. 8 in Table A.1. above for description of the Sultan Murad group.Guardian, 10.02.20.
15Mohammed Al-Shuhna, 22, Idlib, From Maarat al-Nouman, Idlib province, KIAAhrar al-Sham, though at one point was also under command of Sultan Murad faction affiliate Rustum, according to NYB.Promised between $1,000 and $1200 a month approximately 55 dead Syrians who were brought home via the Huwwar Killis border crossing with Turkey over the weekend. See Table A.1. for description of Ahrar al-Sham  MSN, 10.08.20, Independent, 10.09.20 The New York Book Review, 10.16.20  
Likely same person as No 15Muhammad al-Shuhneh, 25 years old, From Maarat al-Numan, KIA near Barda N/A FP, 10.05.20,
16Mustafa Qanti, 23,Hamza factionVideo recorded near Azeri ammunition depot just south of HoradizSee Table A.1. above for description of the Hamza factionIndependent, 10.09.20  
17Cousin of Abu Mohammed, 37, from Eastern GhoutaN/A Independent, 10.09.20  
18Kinan Firzat, KIA Sultan MuradAn ex-Syrian army captain turned rebel Blown up along with five members of his team during fightingSee Table A.1. above for description of the Sultan Murad factionIndependent, 10.09.20  
19Mahmoud Najjar,38,  KIAFrom Aleppo, body shipped back to Syria along with51 other Syrian KIAs, including his nephew (No. 20)Promised a monthly pay of   $2,000 a month(WP, 10.14.20)
20Nephew of Mahmoud Najjar, 18, KIAFrom Aleppo, body shipped back to Syria along with51 other Syrian KIAs, including his uncle Mahmoud Najjar,Promised a monthly pay of   $2,000 a monthWP, 10.14.20)
21Mohammed al-Hamza, 26From AleppoSays “Around 250 of us have asked to go home.”Previously ‘did a ‘tour’ in LibyaGuardian, 10.13.20.
22N/A, 38N/Apromised monthly salary of $1,500.being sent to fight on Azerbaijan’s side  along with other in groups of up to 100 at a time.WSJ, 10.14.20
23Abdel Basit (name altered by the journalist)From Rastan, HomsAffiliate of the “Syrian National Army”Deployed in the beginning of SeptemberPrimary motivation is money, fighters like him promised between $600 to $2,500 a monthThe New York Book Review, 10.16.20  
24Rustum Sultan Murad faction (see table A.1 for description of this faction)The New York Book Review, 10.16.20  
25Samir SNA affiliatePrimary motivation is moneyThe New York Book Review, 10.16.20  

Table B2: In addition, following individual members of jihadist and other groups whose members have been reportedly deployed by Turkey to fight in Karabakh,  according to information I found in regional English-language media sources

NoName or pseudonym, place of residencePresent or past affiliation with groupDescription of individual and/or group he is affiliated withSources cited by following organizations:
1Khaled Saleh (pseudonym), 25 years old From Aleppo, Syrian National ArmySays he is getting paid $1,500 to fight See Table A.1. for description of SNA  Al Monitor, 10.07.20
2Jasim Himmish (a pseudonym), 35 years oldFrom the city of Baza’a in northeastern Aleppo, Syrian National ArmySee Table A.1  for description of SNAAl Monitor, 10.07.20
3Bilal Hamdan (a pseudonym), 24Idlib, Sultan Murad DivisionSee Table 1 for description of Sultan Murad DivisionAl Monitor, 10.07.20
4Khaled, 20 years old, native of Homs, lived near AleppoMalik Shah faction of SNASaid he was getting paid 1500 a month See Table A.1. for description of Malik Shah factionAsia Times, (Hong Kong-based English language news media publishing group_ 10.07.20  
5Ahmad, 42Sultan Murad faction of SNASaid he was getting paid 1500 a month See Table A.1. for description of Sultan Murad factionAsia Times, 10.07.20.
6Mahmoud, From town of Maaret al-Numaan, KIAHamza faction of SNAMahmoud said they were not getting fed enough and were being mistreated by the Azerbaijani officers since their arrival at the front line.Asia Times, 10.07.20. The National, 10.10.20  
8Mohammad, 19Worked in al-Bab city.His mother says she “has lost touch with her 19-year-old son, Mohammad, who ran away to become a mercenary in Azerbaijan.”Asia Times, 10.07.20.
9Ibrahim, 24, from town of Sarmada atSultan Murad faction of SNAOffered ($1,300 a month Interviewed east of KarabakhThe National, 10.10.20  
10Adham (pseudonym) from north Aleppo village of Kafr JannahN/A Syria Direct, 10.12.20
11Muhammad Abdul Razzaq, 45, from AleppoN/A Syria Direct, 10.12.20
12A-Shahna, 26, from Maarat al-Numan, could be the same as No 15 in List B.1.N/A Syria Direct, 10.12.20

Table C.1 Evidence of Turkey’s direct support for the Azerbaijani offensive against Karabakh in international media that  I found in mainstream internationally recognized English-language news and/or analytical sources.  

DateDetailsSource
July 2020 –  OctoberAt least 2 F-16 Turkish air force warplanesat Ganja International Airport in Azerbaijan Deployed on July 31, 2020, still there at on Oct. 7RFE/RL, 10.09.20, Drive, 10.07.20, Defense Blog, 07.31.20,

Table C.2 Evidence of Turkey’s direct support for the Azerbaijani offensive against Karabakh in regional media sources

DateDetailsSource
July-August 2020600 Turkish armed forces servicemen were were deployed to Azerbaijan to participate in wargames in July-August and stayed on to provide support for the Azerbaijani offensive.  These included 600 servicemen in a dedicated battalion-level tactical group, 50 instructors in Nakhichevan, 90 military advisers in Baku (to serve as liaison in the conduct of hostilities in the command chain of  brigade-corps-general staff);120-strong flight personnel at the Gabala airbase; 20 drone operators at the Dallar airfield, 50 instructors at the Yevlakh airfield, 50 instructors in the 4th Army Corps (Pirekeshkul)  20 servicemen at the naval base and at the Heydar Aliyev military school in Baku.  Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
September 28-30, 2020Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar (educated in  Queen’s University Belfast and served as staff officer in NATO’s Allied Forces Southern Europe) and commander of the Turkish ground forces General Ümit Dündar (educated at Royal Army Staff College in UK) were in Azerbaijan on Sept,. 28-30 to exercise general command of the combat operations agains Karabakh.  Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
September 30, 2020Medicines and small arms were delivered from Turkey to Azerbaijan in CN-235 planes along the route Etimesgut (Ankara) -Nasosnaya (Haji-Zeynalabdin).  Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
October 7, 2020The delivery of personnel and ammunition was then carried out on October 7 by a C-130 Turkish Air Force plane (flight TUAF737).  Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
October 9, 2020On October 9, Azerbaijani military transport aircraft Il-76TD (flight AZAF002) flew over Georgia to deliver  200 machine guns with ammunition.  Kommersant, 10.16.20.  
October 14, 2020Turkey had requested air transit over Georgia for flights on October 14, 21 and 28 and Georgian granted those requestsKommersant, 10.16.20.  

2 thoughts on “osint: (A) NAMES OF JIHADIST AND OTHER GROUPS WHOSE AFFILIATES TURKEY HAs DEPLOYED TO FIGHT IN KARABAKH, (B) NAMES OF THEse AFFILIATES, AND (C) DETAILS OF TURKEY’S DIRECT INVOLVEMENT IN THE KARABAKH WAR”

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