Turkey-backed Turkmen FSA group in Syria’s al-Bab sends message to Netherlands

Turkey-backed Turkmen FSA group in Syria's al-Bab sends message to Netherlands

A brigade formed of Turkmen militants in Syria’s al-Bab has sent a video message to the Netherlands condemning Dutch authorities’ treatment of Turkish officials.

In the out of sync video lasting 1 minute 25 seconds share by ANF, the spokesperson of the Syrian Turkmen Brigades, a group in the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA)’s Euphrates Shield Forces, criticises Dutch authorities for their “rude behaviour” and contravention of EU and UN agreements.

“The two nations [Turks and Dutch] have never been hostile against each other. We do not blame the Dutch people living in the Netherlands. This embarrassment belongs to the Dutch government,” the spokesperson says.

Referring to Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom, the FSA group says it is “xenophobic and racist” against Turks and Islam and has “unfortunately captured the Dutch government.”

The message concludes with the spokesperson saying, “As a part of Turks all over the world we Syrian Turkmen would like to reiterate that we are with the Republic of Turkey under all terms of conditions.”

The word ends with the Islamist slogan “Takbir”, which means “Allah is the greatest.”

The Syrian Turkmen Brigades are formed of several groups with ideologies ranging from Islamism to ultra-Turkish nationalism. The group has also fought alongside the Salafist Al-Nusra Front (now Tahrir al-Sham), which was the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until July 2016, and is considered a ‘terrorist organisation’.

Commentators have said tensions between Turkey and Netherlands have been ramped up by both sides ahead of their respective elections to gain votes for right wing parties in both countries.