As I noted previously, some of the factions of the Turkish-backed 'Syrian National Army"(SNA) are older groups, and some are newer formations. Like Division 20, the Men of War Brigade (Liwa Rijal al-Harb) is a newer group. The Men of War Brigade operates within the Second Legion of the SNA and has been participating in the 'Peace Spring' operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On 6 November 2019 CE, I interviewed the deputy commander of the Men of War Brigade about the group. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When was the Men of War Brigade formed and what was its origin exactly?
A: The brigade is old and new at the same time. The Men of War Brigade was formed at the beginning of 2018 CE from revolutionary fighting groups within the formations of the Free Syrian Army and the basis of its members is from all of the Syrian provinces.
Q: In which battles has the brigade participated and how many martyrs has it offered?
A: As we have previously stated the brigade is old in its members, new in its name. Its acquisition of the name came in the Olive Branch operation but its members are of those who participated in liberating the northern countryside and of the first who entered Aleppo city in 2012 CE, and they participated in the expulsion of Da'esh [Islamic State] in the Euphrates Shield battle. And the brigade has offered around 200 martyrs and wounded. And the brigade was among those participating in the liberation of Afrin city and the villages surrounding it in the Olive Branch operation and currently our forces are participating in the Peace Spring operation.
Q: How do you assess the course of the Peace Spring operations?
A: The operation began with a strong and fierce beginning on the part of the forces of the Syrian National Army and the allies Turkish forces and matters are proceeding according to the planned scenario.
Q: What is your position on the Russian-Turkish memorandum of understanding? Does this memorandum mean the freezing of the operations in a definitive sense?
A: The memorandum does not mean freezing but rather on the contrary:
1. It is not possible for us to remain only within two towns and their countryside [i.e. Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn].
2. We are continuing until the liberation of all the lands between Jarabulus and the furthest east up to the Iraqi borders.
We are bound by our revolutionary line that aims to liberate the occupied areas from all forms of terrorism, beginning with the criminal Assad regime through to the Da'esh organization and all the way up to the PYD separatists. And we are ready militarily and trusting in the revolutionary military and political institutions in the administration of the battles on the Syrian lands.
Q: Do you have a message for the supporters of the SDF in particular and the Kurds in general?
A: A message to our noble people of the Syrian citizens in general and the Kurds in particular: to you from us are regards and respect. You are brothers to us. You have what we have and upon you is what is upon is us. We have come to these lands to liberate you from the separatist gangs and the criminal regime.
And our message to the supporters of the SDF who have been compelled to bear arms: throw away your arms and defect from this criminal gang and do not trust in them, for their project is not a Syrian national project.