The alleged defection of SDF spokesperson to FSA: A Hariri type of situation?

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg   BBC  


SLEMANI – On Wednesday, Brigadier General of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Talal Silo, was reported to have defected to FSA units after crossing the border to Turkey. Speaking to Reuters, FSA spokesperson Ibrahim Idlibi said that Silo had been "secretly coordinating with the commanders of the FSA."

But on Thursday, The General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rejected these allegations, arguing that the former SDF spokesperson Brigadier General Talo Silo had disappeared instead. The SDF blames Turkey for the alleged disappearance, citing years of threats and extortion towards his family members still living in Turkey.

As of yet, Talal Silo himself has not made any statements confirming either the FSA or SDF version of events.  

“We in the Syrian Democratic Forces would like to confirm that Brigadier General Talal Silo joined our forces with his faction by his will and the faction was under the flag of the SDF forces and formally he took over the task of the official spokesperson of the SDF and this was his work until the moment of losing contact with him,” the SDF said.

Silo was the leader of the Seljuk Brigade, a Syrian Turkmen rebel group named after the Selcuk Turk empire. The group joined the SDF in October 2015 as part of Jaysh Thuwar (Army of Revolutionaries), an FSA group allied with the Kurdish led YPJ/YPG forces.

“Brigadier General Talal Silo has been respected and appreciated by our forces, and leadership and he has performed the tasks entrusted to him professionally and accordingly he has been subject to a lot of pressure and extortion by the Turkish state. At some point, even his children were threatened in Turkey,” the SDF said.  

On 20 October, in the capacity of SDF spokesperson, Silo announced the liberation of Raqqa in a ceremony in the Black Stadium in Raqqa.

“Since the moment of losing contact with him, our forces have been investigating the circumstances of his disappearance, although he left earlier as a result of some pressure and problems he faced in his work. So we believe that his disappearance is the result of a special operation of the Turkish intelligence in cooperation and complicity of some of his family members,” the SDF said.

Moreover, the SDF said that they will continue to work for the brotherhood of Kurds, Arabs, and other ethnic groups living in northern Syria.

“We in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) assure the public that we are continuing our struggle against terrorism, contribute to the building of a democratic Syria, a free federal decentralization worthy of all people of Syria and that the brotherhood of the peoples will remain a focus of our work,” the SDF said.

“The victories we have achieved is because of this brotherhood [between different peoples] and our forces will not be affected by this incident and we will inform the public opinion latter on the results of the investigation,” the SDF concluded.