Commander of the Sultan Murad: Civilians are priority; a happy surprise to our people

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Yahiya Mayo – RFS

A new development happened in northern Aleppo countryside after the attack and retreat battles between FSA and ISIL; FSA factions changed their tactics and started regaining control over strategic areas towards north-eastern Aleppo countryside. About that development, RFS interviewed Colonel Ahmad Othman, the commander of Al Sultan Murad Division.
What are the reasons for FSA continuous withdrawals from areas they seize from ISIL?
Performance of FSA factions is weaker at night especially one or two days after they control an area, because of the big number of mines planted by ISIL, where engineering companies are unable to remove mines in short time; adding to that ISIL’s use of civilians as human shields to go back to their lost locations, using our weakness point because civilians are priority for us and protecting them is our responsibility.
Are all factions in the north coordinating with Hwar Killis operation room?
Currently, all present factions are part of the Hwar Killis operation room, except for some small factions.
Is there any idea of unification or merge among some specific factions? And if not what are the reasons?
There is great inclination towards unification, but for difficulty of implementing this, a high coordination is followed in one operation room which is one type of unification.
What is the strategic importance of the Raii area?
The Raii area is one of the biggest cities on the Turkish border and the center of the northern countryside, separating Izaz from Jarabulus and Al Bab cities.
Did you effectively secured the Raii area and made sure ISIL will never regain control of it, and is there a plan seize the obstacle villages on the way to Raii?
Currently, it is being fortified by the engineering companies, and there is a plan to control all villages on the outskirts of the city to secure it very well, especially the Tat Homs area and the other villages and hills.
What are the most primary needs of FSA to secure the northern Aleppo countryside and control the north-eastern countryside reaching to Al Bab and Jarabulus cities?
The most important need of factions in the northern countryside is the mutual trust between IC and factions, while there are some discrepancies because of IC’s lack of support to FSA compared to its support to SDF.
What is your opinion about ISIL withdrawal from eastern Aleppo, do you confirm?
ISIL is implementing an assigned task; therefore, it is withdrawing from areas and fighting in other areas especially against FSA factions.
Are there any close serious preparations for operations similar to the Raii operation?
Yes, there is daily-basis work and pleasing surprises to Syria people Inshallah.
How old is ISIL in Syria?
As far as I am concerned, ISIL is as old as the Syrian regime is in Syria. When one of them is eliminated the other will be extinguished too.
Have you got any information about the level and reasons of conflict in Hasaka between SDF and Assad forces?
The conflict between SDF and Assad forces is related to the end of mutual interests between the two sides, and I think a third party will interfere to resolve the conflict between them in two days, and will pressurize regime to avoid targeting SDF.
What is your position from the several initiatives in northern Aleppo countryside calling for raging fights on new fronts to regain control of Tal Refaat, Mennegh, Deir Jmal, Ain Daqna and all towns controlled by SDF?

I think that opening new fronts with SDF is pointless now because our forces are between two sides and launching battles on one front will weaken the other front.

The Sultan Murad Division is one of the most active factions in northern Aleppo countryside, that includes several other merged factions such as Al Sultan Mohammad Al Fateh Brigade active in Aleppo countryside, Martyr Zaki Turkmani Brigade, Ashbal Al Aqeeda Brigade, the Turkmen Brigade, the First Infantry Brigade, the Second Infantry Brigade, the Commandos Brigade and Al Yarmook Brigade,” all merged in one unified military structure under the name of the Sultan Murad Division that has had great participation in controlling the Raii area recently.

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