On November 16, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) officially accused the Turkish intelligence and relatives of its ex-spokesman Talal Silo of pressuring him to defect. Silo defected from the SDF and fled to the Turkish-held areas in the northern Aleppo countryside on November 15.
“We believe that his [Tala Silo] disappearance is the result of a special operation of the Turkish intelligence in cooperation and complicity of some of his family members. We in the Syrian Democratic Forces assure the public that we are continuing our struggle against terrorism,” the SDF official statement said.
In its statement, the SDF also accused the Turkish authorities of threatening Talal Silo’s children, who live in Turkey, previously. The SDF also revealed that it is investigating the Silo defection now.
So who is Talal Silo?
52 years old Talal Silo is a Syrian Turkmen. He was born in al-Rai village in the northern Aleppo countryside. Silo joined the Syrian Arab Air Force in 1985. In 1987 he graduated from the SyAAF Academy and served as a lieutenant in the SyAAF.
In 2004, Talal Silo was arrested by the Syrian Military Intelligence. After spending two years in jail, Silo was dismissed from the service in the SyAAF. Silo was in the rank of Major when he was dismissed.
Syrian opposition sources claim that Talal Silo was arrested and dismissed from the SyAAF after the Syrian Military Intelligence had discovered that he was communicating with the Turkish Intelligence. However, pro-government sources say that Silo was arrested because he was unprofessional, and broke many rules during his service, and even damaged military equipment.
When the Syrian war broke out, Silo joined the Syrian opposition, and in 2013 he founded Seljuk Brigade, a Syrian-Turkmen armed group that was directly backed by Turkey. However, Silo run away to Turkey when ISIS captured al-Rai in 2014.
After staying for more than 18 months in Turkey, Silo joined the newly formed SDF as its official spokesperson. He became quickly known for his support for the US military deployment in Syria and for his negative attitude towards the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Whether Talal Silo defected due to pressure from the Turkish Intelligence or because he was actually an agent of the Turkish Intelligence from the beginning, the defection of Silo was for sure a notable blow to the SDF public image.