The leader of the US-backed Revolutionary Commando Army, which is operating in the al-Tanaf base in southeastern Syria, has made an unusual visit to Turkey, Syrian opposition sources revealed on February 1.
“Colonel Muhanad Tala, leader of the Revolutionary Commanders Army was in Turkey, the incubator of revolution and revolutionaries … The visit was a success on all levels,” Mamon al-Hamid, director of the group’s foreign media office wrote on Facebook.
From his side, Tala told the Enab Baladi news outlet that he was on a “family visit,” in what appears to be an attempt to play down the importance of the move.
Hundreds of fighters of the Revolutionary Commando Army are deployed in al-Tanaf base, which is located near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan. The US-led coalition is training and advising the group supposedly to counter the ISIS threat.
While Tala claims that his visit to Turkey had no political aspects, local observers believe that the leader was exploring new options incase President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria force the coalition to leave al-Tanaf.
“The international [US-led] coalition withdrawal from al-Tanaf and the 55km zone will put Free Syrian Army [FSA] factions in these areas in a direct confrontation with regime forces and Iranian militias,” Tala warned on December 21.
Several opposition sources said that if the US-led coalition withdraws, Tala and his fighters will seek a deal with Damascus that would allow them to withdraw to the Turkish-occupied areas in northern Syria. This remains the most likely scenario.