Fadi Gabriel, a prominent commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), defected and run away from the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin to the government-held area and joined the reconciliation process, Syrian opposition sources revealed on December 9.
Gabriel was one of the top security commanders of the Turkish-backed Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade, which participated in the attack against Kurdish forces in Afrin earlier this year. The group is led by none other than infamous commander Abu Amshah, who was accused of raping the wife of one of his fighters.
According to several opposition sources, Gabriel left the Sultan Suleiman Shah Brigade few weeks ago following a disagreement with Abu Amshah and joined another Turkish-backed group, the Sultan Mohamad al-Fateh Brigade.
In an official statement released on December 8, the Sultan Mohamad al-Fateh Brigade accused Gabriel of committing “violations” against civilians and denied that he had been a commander in its ranks.
“He didn’t work in the Brigade’s security division, we the leadership and fighters of the Sultan Mohamad al-Fateh brigade have no relations with him or anyone like him,” the group’s statement reads.
Despite the Sultan Mohamad al-Fateh Brigade denial, activists confirmed that Gabriel worked for the group’s security division for several weeks before his defection.
In the recent years, dozens of Turkish-backed fighters and commanders defected and joined Damascus government forces. Opposition activists believe that most of these defectors are agents of the Syrian intelligence.