Who is Who?
Defense Minister of the Syrian Interim Government And The Chief Of Staff: Salim Idris
Salim Idris was born in 1957 in the village of El-Mubarakiya located east of Humus. He graduated from the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Aleppo. He also holds master degree in Information Technology from the Higher Institute of Transportation and Communications in Eastern Germany. He did his doctoral thesis in the field of “Electronic radars”. Salim Idris knows 3 programming languages and speaks 5 languages, including English. In parallel with his academic studies, he also received military training. In Aleppo he served as an instructor of the Assad Military Academy and later as a director of the Institute of Engineering within the same Academy. He authored about 12 books on military issues and wrote the article titled ‘Give us the weapons we need to beat Assad’ for Foreign Policy Magazine. From July, 1979 until 2012 he served in Syrian Armed Forces and left the duty as a brigadier general. On December 15, 2012 he was elected as the Chief of Staff of the Syrian Supreme Military Council and took the office of the Commander of the Free Syrian Army at the conference organized in Turkey aiming to unite military wings of the Syrian opposition. Thus, he sided with the opposition in Syrian Civil War. In 2014, Idris left his post as the Chief of General Staff of Free Syrian Army. In 2019 Idris was appointed as a Defense Minister of the Syrian Interim Government and he became the Chief of Staff of the Syrian National Army.  ‘’Özgür Ordu Genelkurmay Başkanı Salim Idris’’,Aljazeera, 18 June 2013 https://www.aljazeera.net/news/reportsandinterviews/2013/6/18/%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%B3-%D8%A3%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85-%D8%A5%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B3(Accessed: January 7, 2020).  Enab Baladi, “Three Syrian Regime Defector Commanders In Charge of The National Army, Who Are They?”,Enab Baladi, 7 November 2019 https://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2019/10/three-syrian-regime-defector-commanders-in-charge-of-the-national-army-who-are-they/(Accessed: January 7, 2020).  Selim İdris,‘‘Give Us the Weapons We Need to Beat Assad’’,Foreign Policy, 1 Mart 2013 https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/03/01/give-us-the-weapons-we-need-to-beat-assad/(Accessed: January 8, 2020).  Christopher M. Blanchard ve Mary Beth D. Nikitin, ‘’Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response’’,Congressional Research Service, 25 March 2018 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33487.pdf(Accessed: January 8, 2020).  Elizabeth O’Bagy ,‘’The Free Syrian Army’’,Institute for the Study of War, Middle East Security Report, March 2013 http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/The-Free-Syrian-Army-24MAR.pdf(Accessed: January 7, 2020). And see also: ‘’Free Syrian Army replaces chief-of-staff Salim Idris’’ ,BBC, 17 February 2014 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26224498(Accessed: January 7, 2020).  Eşber Ayaydın, ”Suriye’deki Milli Ordu ve Ulusal Kurtuluş Cephesi birleşti”,Anadolu Ajansı, 4 October 2019, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/suriyedeki-milli-ordu-ve-ulusal-kurtulus-cephesi-birlesti/1602325(Accessed: January 9, 2020).
Minister of Education of the Syrian Provisional Government: Dr. Huda al Abbasi
Dr. Huda al Abbasi was born on May 17, 1976 in the town of Nahla under the province of Idlib. She is married with 5 children. Her Husband Dr. Iyad Hamade (PhD) is an Information Systems and Statistics Specialist. In 2000, Abbasi received her BA degree from the History Department of the Aleppo University. Later on, she did Master on the Arabic and Islamic History at the University of Damascus and completed her degree in 2006 with honors. Abbasi continued her doctoral studies without interruption and completed her PhD in Arabic and Islamic History at the same university in 2009 with a high honor degree. Along with her education, she has participated in many conferences as a speaker and published various articles in different academic journals. After completing her PhD in 2009, Abbasi started to work as an assistant at Aleppo University. Following the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, demonstrations were started among the students against the Syrian regime. Thus, Abbasi resigned from her job. After Idlib was seized by the Syrian opposition forces in 2015, she started to work at Idlib University. In 2019, she was appointed as the Minister of Education of the Syrian Provisional Government in the cabinet established by Prime Minister Abdurrahman Mustafa.
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SMDK) Anas Al Abdah
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SMDK) Anas Al Abdah Anas Abdah was born in 1967 in Damascus. Abdah studied Geology at the Yarmouk University of Jordan and then he did a Master’s in Geophysics at the University of Newcastle in the UK. Before starting his political career, he worked as a manager in international companies operating in the field information technology. He is fluent in Turkish, English and Arabic. In 2006, Abdah started to focus on more of his political activities. Moreover in the same year, with the participation of many activists from inside and outside Syria, he founded the Movement for Justice and Development which was opposed to the Assad regime. Soon after, he joined the Damascus Declaration and served as a representative of the Declaration abroad. After the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, Abdah contributed to efforts aimed at the unification of the Syrian opposition in 2011 by co-founding the Syrian National Council. Following this process in 2012, Abdah played a major role in the establishment of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SMDK) and joined the Coalition. Abdah was elected a member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee for more than one term. He was a member of the opposition’s negotiating delegation to the Geneva II conference in 2014. Abdah was elected as Secretary of the political committee in the period between July 2015 and March 2016. At the 46th Ordinary General Assembly held in Istanbul, instead of Abdurrahman Mustafa whose SMDK presidency term has expired, Anas Al Abdah has been elected as the new President of the SMDK (received 75 of the votes out of 82). He is also a member of the Syrian Constitutional Commission.
Minister of Interior Affairs of the Syrian Interim Government: Colonel Mouhiuddin Harmoush
Minister of Interior Affairs of the Syrian Interim Government: Colonel Mouhiuddin Harmoush Mouhiuddin Harmoush was born in 1965 in the Duma district of Damascus. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Law Faculty at the University of Damascus, Mouhiuddin joined the Syrian Ministry of Interior Affairs in 1987. He received various training at the Police Academy and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1991. Until 2004, he worked in the Criminal Security branch of Daraa Governorate. Subsequently, he worked at the Drug Enforcement Department in Damascus until the end of 2004 and was promoted to Lieutenant. He joined the Political Security Agency in early 2005. Here he governed the Katana sub-unit, one of the Western suburbs of Damascus, where he led research and economic security branches. In 2009, he was appointed as the Head of the Department of Political Security at the Governorate of Deir ez Zor and served as Colonel until the end of 2011. On December 30, 2011, he continued his professional career as the Head of Branch at the Political Security Unit of Hama Governorate. One year after assuming the Head Branch duty, Colonel Mouhiuddin resigned as a response to the crimes committed against the people by the regime Since 2019 Colonel Mouhiuddin has been serving as the Minister of Interior Affairs in the Syrian Interim Government
The Prime Minister of the Syrian Interim Government: Abdurrahman Mustafa
The Prime Minister of the Syrian Interim Government: Abdurrahman Mustafa Abdurrahman Mustafa originates from Jarablus and was born in Aleppo in 1964. Mustafa is married and fathers three children by the names of Serdar, Ayhan and Caner. He speaks the Arabic, English and Turkish languages. The Ottoman officer Mustafa Namık Bey, who was the founder of Afrin and the district governor of the town of Mabatlı, which is tied to Afrin in the present, is the uncle of Abdurrahman Mustafa. Abdurrahman Mustafa has finished his elementary school and highschool education in Aleppo and graduated from Aleppo University’s Faculty of Economics. Between the years of 1988-2010, Mustafa held senior executive posts in the private sector in Turkey, Bulgaria, Libya and Saudi Arabia. When the developments unfolded in Syria in the year of 2011, he quit his job and returned to Syria. In the period of 2011-2012, he played an active part in political activities organized by the Syrian Turkmen and was the delegate for Aleppo at the 1. Turkmen Platform in Istanbul. In 2013, he was a founding member of the Syrian Turkmen Council. In 2014, he was the deputy head of the Syrian Turkmen Council’s Executive Board until he was appointed as its head. As the head of the Syrian Turkmen Council, in February 2016 he attended the Geneva talks and met the UN’s Special Representative for Syria De Mistura. He was superseded by Dr. Emin Bozoğlan when the Executive Board met on the 26th and 27th of May 2016. At the Astana talks held in January 2017, he attended as the political representative of the FSA’s Sultan Murad Brigade. Mustafa was appointed as the deputy head of the Syrian National Coalition for the Syrian Opposition and the Revolutionary Forces in May 2017. Abdurrahman Mustafa was appointed as the head of the SNC after Riad Seif offered his resignation due to health reasons on the 9th of March 2018. At the meeting of the Executive Board of the SNC on the 5th and 6th of May 2018, he was again chosen as its head. In the elections held on June 2019, under the auspieces of 46th Ordinary General Assembly, Abdurrahman Mustafa was elected as the President of the Syrian Interim Government (Recieved 54 votes out of 82).
4th Armored Division
4th Armored Division 4th Armored Division was established in 1984, after the coup attempt against Hafez al-Assad. The unit was established to protect Syria against internal and external threats and it includes one of the best equipped units of the Syrian Arab Army. It is known that most of the commanders in the unit are former Syrian Army commanders and that 80% of the division is formed by Nusayris, the main aim of the unit is to protect the regime. The commander is technically Major General Muhammad Ali Durgham, but Bashar al-Assad’s brother, Mahir al-Asad, acts as the commander of the division, despite his title as Commander of the 42nd Armored Brigade. The 40th, 41st and 42nd Armored Brigades, the 138th Mechanized Brigade, the 154th Artillery Regiment and the 555th Special Forces Regiment, are considered to have around 1.500 military forces. In Damascus, strategically located in the Mezzah military complex, the unit has taken part in many clashes with the opponents of the regime and with ISIS. Assuming active duties in Damascus and its environs, this division strengthened its dominance in the regions such as Deraya, Mudamiye and West Gouta in 2016. At the same time, Maher al-Assad was also held responsible for the chemical attacks in Gouta in August 2013, which caused the death of nearly 1500 people.As a matter of fact, the reports stated that the sarin-filled rockets used in the attacks were fired by the units attached to the 4th Armored Division. The United States and the EU said that the Syrian regime played a leading role in the actions in Daraa, and announced that it had decided to sanction Maher al-Assad and many Syrian Army commanders. On January 23, 2019, the UK sanctions list included several senior commanders in the 4th Armored Division and Maher al-Assad linked people. In Syria, the alliance has carried out attacks against dissidents with the aid of Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias. The 4th Armored Division, located in Idlib, violated the boundaries of the tension reduction zone. In January 2019, the 4th Armored Division clashed with the Tiger Forces and the 5th Armored Division, which was affiliated to the Syrian Army and supported by Russia. Source: “The 4th Armoured Division of the Syrian Arab Army: History and Capabilities” https://southfront.org/4th-armoured-division-syrian-arab-army-history-capabilities/By All Means Necessary: Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria,” Human Rights Watch, December 2011, p. 83.Terry Atlas and Sangwon Yoon, “Assad’s Brother Seen Linked to Syria Chemical Attack”, Bloomberg. Access of date: February 3, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-08-27/assad-s-brother-seen-linked-to-syria-chemical-attackGregory Koblentz, “Syria’s Chemical Weapons Kill Chain”, Foreign Policy, access of date February 3, 2019. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/04/07/syrias-chemical-weapons-kill-chain-assad-sarin/“Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle”, BBC, Access of date: February 4, 2018 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/world-middle-east-13216195“CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK”, January 23, 2019.Suleiman Al-Khalidi, “Syrian army and allies step up bombing of rebels in Deraa city”, Reuters, access of date: February 4, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-deraa/syrian-army-and-allies-step-up-bombing-of-rebels-in-deraa-city-idUSKBN19305V“Pro-Iranian and pro-Russian forces clash in Syria”, UAWIRE, access of date: February 4, 2019 https://uawire.org/pro-iranian-and-pro-russian-forces-clash-in-syria
Formation of the Oldest Shiite Militia in Iraq: Badr Organization
Formation of the Oldest Shiite Militia in Iraq: Badr Organization Founded in 1983, the Badr Organization is the oldest Iraqi Shiite militia organization. The group is estimated to have at least 20,000 militia forces, who were trained by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq War. His current commander, Hadi al-Amiri, rebelled against Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and fled to Iran. In the Iran-Iraq War, al-Amiri, who fought in the ranks of Iran, pioneered militia revolts against the regime in Iraq.[i] Hadi al Amiri, who was the leader of the organization in 1990, changed the former name of the organization, the Badr Brigades to Badr Organization. Like other Shiite militias, in July 2013 the Badr Organization announced its involvement in the Syrian war.[ii] In 2015, Hadi al-Amiri announced his commitment to the Iranian Revolutionary Leader Khamenei and to the Shiite revolutionary ideology by saying about Khamenei “not only for Iran, but a leader for the entire Islamic World.” [iii] The group acted with the slogans: “Iraqi security is endangered until the security of Syria is ensured”, the group supported the pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and was instrumental in the mobilization of pro-Iranian militias in Syria.[iv] The Badr Organization is active in Aleppo and Damascus, saying that they have contributed 1,500 militia forces to Iran-led forces in Syria.[v] In 2013, the group started to operate in Damascus, fought in the Sayyida Zainab region. From the beginning of 2014, the largest operations in which the faction took part took place in the Qalamoun Mountains, north of Damascus, near the Lebanese border.[vi] In October 2016, Moeen al-Kadhemi, deputy head of the Badr Organization, said that the group was considering expanding its operations in Syria after finishing the war with ISIS elements in Iraq.[vii] The Badr Organization, which is currently under the Popular Mobilization Forces, is both armed and political like Hezbollah, and its leader al-Amiri was also a transport minister in Iraq. In 2007, Abu Mahdi a-Muhandis, one of the former Badr Organization commanders, founded Kata’ib Hezbollah and became a leader of it. Source: [i]Patrick Martin, “Analysis of the Badr Organization”, The Globe and Mail, 12 May 2018.[ii]“Understanding the Organizations Deployed to Syria”, Washington Institute.[iii]Caleb Weiss, “Badr Organization fighters pose with US M1 Abrams tank,” FDD’s Long War Journal, 12 July 2015.[iv]Badr Organization”, Foundation for Defence of Democracies.[v]“Badr Organization”, Foundation for Defence of Democracies.[vi]Guido Steinberg, “The Badr Organization”, SWP, p.7, July 2017[vii]El-Ghobashy, Tamer and Abi-Habib, Maria. “Iraqi Militias Complicate Aleppo Battle; Fighters combating Islamic State at home pour into Syria to support regime’s siege.” The Wall Street Journal, 5 October 2016.
The Kurdish National Council in Syria
The Kurdish National Council in Syria The Kurdish National Council in Syria was formed on October 26, 2011, in Erbil, Iraq, under the sponsorship of Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.  The KNC is an assembly composed of representatives of 11 Syrian-Kurdish political parties as well as members of civil society organisations. Founding purpose of KNC is to establish a decentralized, parliamentary and democratic Syria State that secures national rights for the Kurdish people.Also they demand to drop the word “Arab” from the country’s official name. The KNC politically identify itself as opposed to the YPG/PYD. Since 27 August 2013, ENKS has been part of National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (SNC). The representatives of ENKS, Abdulhakim Besar and Abdulbasit Hemo are still conducting the vice president duty of SNC. ENKS executives emphasize that the YPG is not a Kurdish movement. They also state that YPG’s interoperability with the regime hampered the Syrian revolution.However, ENKS does not define YPG as a terrorist organization and this creates problems in its relations with the SNC. YPG and ENKS, which came together offically for three separate occasions, which are Erbil on June 2012, Hewler on July 2012 and Duhok on September 2014, attempted to unite forces and move together in the regions of Syria where Kurds live, but all of these attemps have failed. The military wing of the group is called ’Rojava Peshmerga’ and it is entirely under the rule of Massoud Barzani. Approximately 4000 peshmerga are in the Iraqi-Syria border at present. YPG accusing of ENKS for collaborating with Turkey. In 2016, ENKS leader Ibrahim Biro was arrested by YPG, in 2017 YPG closed all offices that had opened by ENKS in northern Syria. ENKS published a report and it is stating that 311 violations of rights were carried out by YPG against them between 2012 – 2017, including detention, kidnapping, exile and killing. According to the same report, 52 members and supporters of ENKS were killed by the YPG. Following the Operation of the Olive Branch, YPG elements raided houses of the executives of the ENKS and abducted their relatives with the accusation that they played a role in the establishment of the local council of Afrin. In September 2018, ENKS officials held a meeting in Istanbul with Zehra Bill, a US Syrian desk official. During the meeting US representatives suggested to play a mediating role in order to ensure a rapprochement between the YPG and ENKS. ENKS representatives formulated their desire of the return of Rojava Peshmergas to northern Syria. Source: http://carnegie-mec.org/publications/?fa=48502http://knc-geneva.org/?page_id=49&lang=enhttp://en.etilaf.org/coalition-components/national-blocks/kurdish-national-council.htmlhttps://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/knc.htmhttp://tr.etilaf.org/coalition-components/genel-kurul/siyasi-kurul/vice-presidents/abdulbas%C4%B1t-hamu.htmlhttps://www.dailysabah.com/syrian-crisis/2016/08/17/western-nations-ignore-rights-violations-by-pyd-head-of-syrias-kurdish-national-council-sayshttps://tr.sputniknews.com/ortadogu/201708041029570204-suriye-enks-ypg/http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/pyd-ile-anlasma-nasil-saglandihttps://tr.sputniknews.com/roportaj/201703091027557209-rojava-pesmergeleri-nato-enks/http://www.basnews.com/index.php/tr/news/kurdistan/459161https://www.trthaber.com/haber/dunya/ypgpkk-enksnin-eski-baskaninin-yakinlarini-kacirdi-360927.htmhttps://tr.sputniknews.com/columnists/201809141035202472-abd-heyet-enks-gorusme/
Sadr’s Mahdi Army
Sadr’s Mahdi Army The Mahdi Army was founded by Muqtada al-Sadr in 2003 during the US invasion of Iraq. About 300 militias were sent to Hezbollah camps in Lebanon following the establishment of the group.It is claimed that the connection between Hezbollah and the Mahdi Army was established by Iran. These Iraqi-origin militias were trained in the use of weapons, intelligence and assassination actions in Lebanon. In the pre- war 2009, in Damascus 30 militias from Mahdi Army were assassinated including senior commanders. The Mahdi Army, approximately has about 10,000 militias in total, it is believed it has nearly 500 militias in Syria: Damascus, Aleppo and Hama. In contrast to other Iranian-backed Shiite militias who want to preserve the Assad regime, the Mahdi Army is more involved in the protection of the Shiite tombs in Syria. Mahdi Army claims that it was limited to protecting holy shrines, but it occasionally took part in attacks against the Shiite neighbourhoods and on the offices of the Shiite leaders to defend them. Sadr, who returned from the Iranian exile, wants to prevent the increasing Iranian influence in Iraq with the emergence of ISIS, and does not accept “vilayat-e faqih” ideology of Iran. In addition to being the first Iraqi Shiite cleric calling for the Assad regime, Sadr demanded an international investigation against the allegations that Assad had used chemical weapons.. Sadr’s Mahdi Army is a militia group that stands out with its nationalism and is not much involved in the Syrian war.  Qais al-Khazali, the former spokesman of Sadr left the Mahdi Army because of disagreements and established Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in 2006 then became a leader. Source: Bill Roggio “Mugniyah Behind Establishment of Mahdi Army.” The Long War Journal, February 23, 2008.Bill Roggio, “Mahdi Army Members Assassinated in Syria”, Long War Journal, September 21, 2009.http://fsaplatform.org/foreign-shia-militia-map, access of date: October 23, 2018. “Iraqi Shia groups rally in show of power”, Al Jazeera English”, June 22, 2014.Suadad al-Salhy, “Iraqi Shi’ite Militants Fight For Syria’s Assad”, Reuters, November 16, 2012.“Sadr Becomes First Iraqi Shi’ite Leader to Urge Assad to Step Down”, Reuters, April 9, 2017.“Moqtada al-Sadr Urges Assad to Quit”, Middle East Eye, April 8, 2017.
A Gang In Afrin: Shuhada al Sharqiyyah
A Gang In Afrin: Shuhada al Sharqiyyah Shuhada al Sharqiyyah is a DeirEzzor originated faction which had to flee from its hometown to northwest Syria due to the ISIS threat After the liberation of Al-Bab from ISIS, Shuhada al Sharqiyyah broke the ceasefire with regime forces at Tadef and started an operation. After this, Ahrar al Sharqiyyah cut its ties to Shuhada al Sharqiyyah, and the faction was disbanded After the Operation Olive Branch, , Shuhada al Sharqiyyah reorginised itself under the leadership of Abdurrahman el Huseyin known as Abu Hawl, Shuhada al Sharqiyyah While some claims suggest the faction to have up to 400 fighters, it is estimated that the real numbers may be between 100 and 150. It is reported that the faction committed several crimes against the local population in Afrin, includin robbery, extortion and other gang activities. At 19 September, the National Army and Turkish Armed Forces conducted a joint operation and disbanded the faction. Fighters who tried to resist against the joint operation were killed, others surrendered Some claims suggest that Shuhada al Sharqiyyah had relations to some intelligience services of regional states who operate against Turkish policies