The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) consists of a variety of formations. There has been some debate about who exactly are the fighters within the SNA. In my view one useful angle to explore is the detailed stories of individual members and former members. In this post I present the story of one Abd al-Wahhab Assi, who was most recently involved with the First Legion SNA formation called Liwa al-Waqqas. Below is the account he gave me which I have translated.
Abd al-Wahhab Assi in Liwa al-Waqqas. Note he is the guy wearing sunglasses in this photo.
'Dear brother: my name is Abd al-Wahhab Yusuf Assi born in Aleppo in 1980. I am married and have five children and currently I am living in the city of Afrin in one of the houses on rent of course and I do not have income from any source of work.
In the beginning of the revolution from 2012 in the city of Aleppo we were working with the Shami Front (Liwa al-Tawheed) and we remained in revolutionary work until we left from the city of Aleppo by force as we were displaced. We were in a state of loss in those days after we left Aleppo city. I joined Liwa al-Waqqas on date 1 February 2018 at the beginning of the Olive Branch operation. There is a prior familiarity between me and the commander of Liwa al-Waqqas considering that he was in the Shami Front and he is of the sons of the town of Mare'a and we were fighting the Dawa'esh in Mare'a and on account of that relation I joined this Liwa. And truth be told he is a good person, but in the common language money causes change.
And I was at the time the leader of a big contingent of personnel. I was wounded on 19 February 2018 and I was taken for treatment to the Turkish hospitals and my situation was very difficult. And surgery work was done for me. My left lung was completely removed, and my body from the left side is very swollen and we were promised and until now by the brothers health compensation and Turkish nationality, and my data and that of my family were taken.
After the wound I rested for six months then I returned to military work but lightly so because my health is in a state of deterioration. In the second month of last year (2020) there was a disagreement between the general commander of the Liwa [Liwa al-Waqqas] and his deputy, and the deputy commander of the Liwa was our direct commander and he dealt with us as the brother and not as the leader and in one way or another we were affiliated with him. And after the disagreement between the commanders I was arbitrarily expelled by consideration that I am of the people who are affiliated with the deputy commander and I was marginalised from work and I was got out of my house in an immoral way. And I now possess no daily nourishment and I need healthcare and medicine and I have under the left hand from the side of the heart nerves that have stopped working because of my wound.
In the beginning the [monthly] salary [in Liwa al-Waqqas] was very good: $300. And after that my salary became 1000 Turkish liras with regards to me.'
For those interested in reaching out to him and learning more about his current situation:
+90 537 738 71 36