Turkey to fund military academy in north Syria to rein in factional chaos

Turkey to fund military academy in north Syria to rein in factional chaos
Syria's opposition "interim government" has announced the establishment of a military academy in Afrin amid continuing factionalism among rebel forces.
2 min read
23 April, 2024
Rebel factions often clash with each other in northern Syria [Getty]

The Syrian opposition's so-called Interim Government" has announced that it will soon open a military academy in northern Syria in a bid to end fighting between rebel groups which are nominally part of the Turkish-backed “Syrian National Army”.

The Syrian Interim Government’s Defence Minister, Hassan Al-Hamada, has visited the site of the proposed academy in Afrin, which was captured by pro-Turkish Syrian rebels from Kurdish-led forces in 2018.

In a statement, the Interim Government’s Defence Ministry said that "most of the stages of setting up the buildings and facilities of the academy have been completed".

The military academy will have capacity for approximately 1,000 students and is due to open next June.

A source at the Interim Government’s defence ministry who chose to remain anonymous told The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the military academy would "produce officers and NCOs with the highest standard of training and capability" adding that officers who had defected from the Syrian regime’s army would “oversee the administration of the academy".

He said that the Turkish government would fund the academy and equip it.

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Turkey launched three operations in northern Syria, one against Islamic State in 2016 and two against Kurdish-led forces in 2018 and 2019.

The Turkish-backed "Syrian National Army" operates in these areas but it is plagued by factionalism with groups operating independently of one another and chaotic infighting often breaking out.

Most of the rest of Syria is controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, who with crucial backing from Iran and Russia, has been able to capture areas once held by the Syrian opposition.

Hisham Eskif, an officer from the Syrian National Army told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the military academy was an "important step to restructure the [Syrian National Army], develop it, and turn it into a professional army".