On December 2, Talal Silo former spokesperson for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) revealed during an interview with the Turkish Anadolu Agency that the US and Kurdish factions including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PPK) agreed to found the SDF only as an excuse to provide arms and supplies to Kurdish militias: the PPK, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women Protection Units (YPJ).
“It is [the SDF] only a name. Nothing else. We take everything, including salaries, from the YPG… The basic reason for the SDF’s establishment is the US. The US authorities wanted to give arms to Kurds. Announcement of the SDF’s establishment was only a drama. They mentioned the unity of the components, but there is no such thing,” Silo told Anadolu.
The former spokesmen for the SDF also said that the US gave the leadership of the SDF to the Kurds and the PKK. The US and a leader of the PKK and the SDF named “Shahin Jilo” agreed to allow ISIS fighters to withdraw from Raqqa, according to Silo.
“They wanted to influence the ideas of citizens in the region via the SDF. They introduce the SDF as a force that is liberating and fighting against the terrorism. But because of them, houses were demolished, people were forced to emigrate. They did not even let the people stay in the camps, they drove them into panic,” Silo said.
Silo revealed that the Arabi units of the SDF were just signing documents given by the US for receiving the arms. But all of the arms were going to the PKK in the end. According to Silo, Brett McGurk Special US Presidential Envoy for the US-led coalition was behind the idea of using the Arab units as a tool to traffic arms to the PKK and other Kurdish militias.
“All of the ideas were coming from Brett McGurk. During the Raqqah operation, McGurk wanted a force to be established in the name of Arab Coalition… Arab Coalition’s only duty was to receive arms. And it received very large amounts of arms. But only small arms were distributed to Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians excluding the Kurds. Coalition’s name was Arab, but Arabs have nothing to do in it. The Deir ez-Zor Military Council only puts signature.”
According to Silo, the US didn’t monitor the weapons it was suppling to the YPG and the PKK, and continued supplying the weapons whenever the SDF leadership demanded more. Supposedly “Shahin Jilo” was the one who submitted the SDF demands list to the US-led coalition. Silo said that many advance weapons were hidden from the media. So no one know the SDF has received it.
“Americans did not care where the arms would go. They did not ask us even once that what are we doing with the arms and where do we use them … They would be played by “We are out of arms” game [by YPG] and new delivery of arms would start right away,” Silo said.
According to the former spokesman of the SDF, “Shahin Jilo” is the real commander of the SDF. Saleh Muslim only plays the role of being the leader of the SDF in the media as a propaganda move. Silo even revealed that “Shahin Jilo” himself is under the command of “Bahoz Erdal”, a commander of the PKK in Qandil Mount in northern Syria.
“The PKK took advantage of Salih Muslim’s role in the media and was successful in using him. Normally, he had no role. During the announcement of autonomous government, they made Muslim sit on the seventh row in the hall because he doesn’t have any role in this project,” Silo said.
According to this, the entire SDF is only a branch of the PKK in Syria. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization not only by Turkey, but also by the US, the main backer of the SDF.
During the interview, Silo revealed that the SDF has only 50,000 fighters, over 70% of them are Kurdish members of the YPG and the YPJ. The SDF’s Assyrian Military Council (MFS) has only 50 fighters while the SDF promotes it as a large Christian force. The Turkmen force that was under Silo command had only 65 fighters, according to him. The SDF refused to allow any more Turkmen to join its ranks.
“I recommended 150 names, but they [the SDF] said “Why 150? 50 are enough”. There are Al-Sanadid Forces from Arabs in Shammar Ashira. Seikh Bender is the head of this force,” Silo said.
Silo said that Arab fighters were “cheated” by the SDF command during the Raqqa battle and revealed that 80% of the fighters who died during the battle were Arabs. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces that launched the battle lost far less fighters.
SDF field commanders don’t receive salaries according to Silo as they made money simply from “smuggling and bribe”. Most of the foreign fighters who joined the SDF and YPG did so only to get media attention and never fought, one of them was even a model from Canada.
“They were coming from various countries and joining the YPG. They included women. We saw some of them coming for publicity. A Canadian woman was found out to be a model in her country. The ones who return to their countries say that they fought against Daesh [ISIS] and they try to declare themselves as national heroes,” Silo said.
While many would doupt Silo statements for many reasons, the fact that he was the “third man” in the SDF proves that he knew a lot about the SDF, before he willingly defected from it on November 15.