The U.S.-backed armed faction in the al-Tanf area in southeast Syria, Maghaweir al-Thowra, officially rejected the Global Coalition’s recent decision to remove its leader Muhanad Tallaa.
Tallaa, who founded the Maghaweir al-Thowra in 2016 with support from the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, is a former colonel of the Syrian government forces who defected early in the Syrian war.
The Coalition removed Tallaa from his position last week. The leader was replaced by Muhammad Farid al-Qassem, a former captain who joined the armed opposition after the government forces defected and later formed the al-Qaryatayn Martyrs Brigade in al-Tanf with support from the US.
The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) welcomed Farid al-Qassem in a tweet saying, “We remain committed to our Combined anti-ISIS campaign & to promoting peace & regional stability.”
In a statement released on Sunday, the Joint Military Command of the Maghaweir al-Thowra rejected the US decision to appoint al-Qassem as the group’s new leader, denouncing the Coalition’s attempts to intervene in its internal affairs.
The Maghaweir al-Thowra maintains at least 300 militants in the Coalition al-Tanf garrison, where some 200 US troops are usually deployed.
Qassem, who is a violent radical, was reportedly appointed as the new leader of the Maghaweir al-Thowra upon direct orders from the US Central Command.
Tallaa was allegedly sacked from his position because of a recent trip he made to Turkey, during which he held talks with the country’s intelligence officials.
The decision to remove Tallaa led to a series of protests by civilians and militants in the al-Tanf garrison and the nearby Rukban refugee camp.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.