Suleiman Shah Brigade
IntroductionThe Suleiman Shah Brigade was founded by Muhammad al-Jassim, known as Abu Amsha, a veteran commander who had served in many Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated militias throughout the war.* Amsha joined the Sultan Murad Division in 2018, taking command of a unit within the Division that would later become the independent Suleiman Shah Brigade.* The Suleiman Shah Brigade, also known as “Amshat” after its commander, has been accused of kidnappings, expelling Kurdish families from towns, and extortion in Afrin.*
LeadershipMuhammad al-Jassim (a.k.a. Abu Amsha) has been accused of carrying out rapes, kidnappings, and enforced disappearances. *
Base of OperationsAleppo countryside in Syria*
Membership Size and RelevanceThe Suleiman Shah Brigade claims to have more than 2,000 fighters, which it trains in camps in northern Aleppo.* A July 2021 graduation ceremony was attended by the head of the opposition Syrian Interim Government and the Syrian National Army (SNA) as well as Turkish military officers.* The presence of senior officials from the SNA, the broader structure within which all Turkish-backed factions reside, demonstrates the Suleiman Shah Brigade’s centrality within the larger organization.
Recruitment and PropagandaNATO placed Turkey on the Child Soldier Prevention Act list for its support of the Sultan Murad Brigade, which is known to recruit and deploy child soldiers.*
Violent ActivitiesIn 2021, the Azm joint operations center—a formation within the SNA that includes most major groups—conducted an investigation into the various crimes committed in the Suleiman Shah Brigade’s primary area of operation, the Sheikh Hadid area in Afrin.* Azm was established in July 2021 as a mechanism to facilitate coordination and cooperation between SNA factions. Under pressure from the Azm Unified Command Room, the Suleiman Shah Brigade agreed to allow a three-person committee to review the investigation’s findings.* Testimonies from the investigation accuse Abu Amsha of looting, torture of detainees, and exorbitant taxes on locals.*
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.
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