Syrian Turkmens Describing ISIS

Turkmen population density map; Turkmens, with a population of 3,5 million, are Syria’s second largest ethnic group after Arabs. 1.5 millions of Turkmens can speak Turkish, but the rest around 2 millions can’t speak Turkish due to the assimilation policy of Assad, however know their Turkish origin.

In the province of Aleppo, at least one hundred Turkmen villages were invaded by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and forty-one Turkmen villages are still clashing with the forces of ISIS. Syrian Turkmens get angry with Turkey as they are not provided with weapons against the forces of ISIS.

One of the village governors who doesn’t want to share his name said: “We have big problems. People can’t stay at their homes. The terrorists of ISIS are killing and abducting our people. Their cruelity is more barbarous than Bashar-al Assad, who is another enemy. Bashar fights with us decently, but the forces of ISIS are just slaughtering all people they encounter, which is inhuman and barbarous act of them. As people are scared of their cruelty, they moved to Turkey as refugees. We thank Turkey as they accepted our families as refugees and provided them with food, medicine and shelter.”

The village governer also said: “We were called to Istanbul one year ago. We had a meeting there. Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, Davutoglu and Mehmet Sandir also participated in the meeting. They wanted all Turkmens in Syria to be united under one roof. And they also promised to help us with war. After all, we thought Turkey supports us, so we felt ourselves in security till ISIS (also called ISIL) came and slaughtered our people. After that point, Turkey just watches us, but doesn’t support us against the ISIS. Now we are homeless, and nobody supports us. We are under fire. However, we will continue fighting with both Bashar Assad and ISIS till the last drop of our blood. We’re Turks, and will protect our own women, children and country on our own. We have to do this on our own even though no one supports and protects us.”

“We know that Erdogan, the prime minister, is a compassionate man as he helped Gaza Strip. He helps them, but he just promised us. Now the promises aren’t kept. We are homeless and about to become extinct. Be sure that we are not terrorists. We are just trying to protect our homeland and families. We call to all parties to help us.”

One of the Turkmen commanders of Firaz Pasha Troop said: “Turkey ignores ISIS to pass via Turkish-Syrian borders. How can it ignore them, who slaughter our people? Day and night, we clash with ISIS now. We are about to run short of ammunition. ISIS is of unknown sect or religion, but we know that they are not of Sunni or Shia. They grabbed my village and stole everything from my home. A Muslim can’t do such things. I saw a video that they raped a Turkmen girl. When I saw that video, I got mad and broke the mobile phone into pieces. They can’t be Muslims.”

He continued telling about ISIS: “ISIS has two groups called muhajir and ansars. Muhajirs are the incomers who are from other countries, and ansars are the hosting ones from Syria. Ansars are mostly the criminals and hashheads of their regions.”

When we asked “what do you expect from Turkey?”, the troop commander said: “As a Turkmen, I demand everything from Turkey. Even if Turkey exludes us, we are yours. We are brothers both religiously and ethnically. Today we have war, tomorrow you can have war. We have martyrs of Dardanelles Battle. My ancestry also fought in that war near you. You should support us. Now we are lack of ammunition and weapons. We are fighting with a strong enemy who has demolition and barrel bombs. That’s serious.”


Barrel bombs are forbidden, but it is known that barrel bombs dropped by Syrian forces caused many people to lose their life during the civil war.

Hüllük-Bagriyani, a Turkmen district in Aleppo, was attacked by Syrian Forces with three barrel bombs last month, and as a result, at least 120 civillians were killed. So most of Turkmen families left their homes in Aleppo. Now there are few people living in Aleppo as they don’t have enough money or vehicles to leave the area.


The flag of Syrian Turkmens


The members of ISIS have modern and heavy weapons and they even have night vision glasses, so they are stronger than Turkmens. On the other hand, Turkmen forces just have AK-47 (kalashnikov) and DShK.  And they also have very small or limited amounts of ammunition. They say they fight with ISIS under hard and limited conditions. They cannot provide their soldiers with wages. Some youngers leave the Turkmen forces so as to look after their families. The soldiers of Turkmen forces just have two meals a day, and sometimes have no food. On the other hand, ISIS forces have modern vehicles with right hand drives, and have heavy weapons with night vision glasses.

A Turkmen journalist who does not want to share his name said: “ISIS and Nusra forces first worked together. During that time, some Turks worked with Nusra forces. After ISIS seperated from Nusra,  several Turks might have stayed among ISIS, but they mostly left ISIS. However, we know that the participants of ISIS are all Salafi, who want to suppress both Sunni and Shia Muslims.”

The area called West Turkmeneli where Turkmens live in Syria.

Some activitists call the area “West Turkmeneli” which is the land Turkmens mostly live in Syria.

In the meantime, ISIS controls most of the borders between Syria and Turkey. They also invaded and plagued at least 100 Turkmen villages in the province of Aleppo. The rest of the Turkmen villages clash with ISIS under difficult conditions. ISIS seized Ahtar, but two days later, Turkmen forces grabbed it back from ISIS. The clashes still continues between Turkmens and ISIS.

It is thought that both Bashar Assad and ISIS want Turkmens to leave the region, which is a part of ethnic cleansing in West Turkmeneli located in Syria.

References: Odatv
Translated and revised by

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One thought on “Syrian Turkmens Describing ISIS

  1. no difference between isis and pyd(kurdish terrorists in syria)! in fact they are all terrorists who are just killing innocent people and making discrimination among the people ethinically or religiously….

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