The former spokesman of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who defected from the US-backed coalition to Turkey, has accused the Kurdish-led group of making evacuation deals with Daesh fighters.
In the latest segment of an interview conducted with the Anadolu Agency, defector Talal Silo alleged that US-backed fighters had struck several deals with Daesh, allowing fighters and their families safe passage out of Raqqa, Manbij and Tabqa and that some had found their way to the Euphrates Shield zone.
“The SDF failed several times to capture Tabqa and its dam and they held negotiations with Daesh. According to that agreement, Daesh left the city and let the SDF remove all booby traps in the dam compound. In return more than 500 Daesh terrorists were evacuated to Raqqa city,” he told reporters.
Silo has also alleged that the SDF, which is dominated by Kurdish fighters, is a cover for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey has designated a terror organisation, and the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“It is only a name. Nothing else. We take everything, including our salaries, from YPG. The US authorities wanted to give arms to Kurds. The announcement of SDF’s establishment was only a drama. The US gave the leadership to the Kurds and PKK.”
According to the ex-spokesman, the SDF has some 50,000 militants including both men and women, with 70 per cent of them belonging to the YPG and the YPJ, the female wing of the organisation. Human rights organisations have documented Kurdish forces committing war crimes in Syrian territory, including the razing of non-Kurdish villages and forced conscription of minors.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has alleged on multiple occasions that the US has aided Daesh militants by supporting Kurdish groups.
The US-led coalition has not formally responded to any of Silo’s latest comments, but the allegations come amid repeated calls on Washington by senior Turkish officials, insisting on the cessation of weapons deliveries to Kurds.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that US President Donald Trump had reassured Erdogan that he had ordered to cease supplies of the US armaments to Kurds. The US has also started to withdraw some of its troops from the ground.
However, the Trump administration has made clear its intention to keep some forces in Syria to oversee attempts at a peace process between opposition groups and the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, efforts which have stalled in Geneva again this week.
Last month American officials confirmed to the Washington Post, on a condition of anonymity, that the US plans to maintain an open-ended presence in Kurdish-dominated regions in order to stabilise communities under a local government. Such reports seconded the statements of US Defence Secretary James Mattis weeks before when he stated that the military will fight Daesh in Syria “as long as they want to fight”.