Third Part Of Interview With Former SDF Spokesman Talal Silo

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Third Part Of Interview With Former SDF Spokesman Talal Silo

Talal Silo

On November 4, the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu released the third part of its interview with former spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces Talal Silo. More details about the previous parts can be found HERE and HERE.

PKK/PYD, US ‘let Daesh go free on 3 occasions’ in Syria (source):

The former spokesman of the SDF, an armed Syrian group dominated by the terrorist PKK/PYD, has told Anadolu Agency that the SDF and the U.S. allowed Daesh terrorists to escape on three separate occasions.

Talal Silo, a former high-ranking commander, is currently in Turkey after defecting from the SDF last month.

He revealed details of the U.S. military’s support to the PKK/PYD, also known as the YPG, and deals struck under the guise of combating Daesh.

Anadolu Agency (AA): How did your first contact with the Americans happen?

Talal Silo (TS): They wanted to meet me outside Syria. They came with a vehicle like a helicopter. They took me to Erbil [the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish territory]. I stayed for two days at the U.S. base in Erbil airport. We discussed coordinating work and media matters. We identified the media that supported the SDF [and] we discussed which ones we could give interviews to.

AA: Did you have direct contact with senior American officials?

TS: Meetings took place directly. I also participated in these negotiations. I participated in the meetings with Brett McGurk [the U.S. special representative for fighting Daesh], Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend [commander of Inherent Resolve, the anti-Daesh operation in Syria and Iraq] and U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel.

Sahin Cilo [SDF general commander, a senior PKK/PYD figure] appointed those who were to attend from our side. I attended all the meetings at the Celebi base [northern Syria]. We had a meeting with the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee. There was complete coordination between Cilo and the U.S. administration.

AA: Why did you include Hatay [a Turkish province] in the PKK/PYD’s front organization SDF map emblem of Syria?

TS: Cilo told us: ‘The Syrian state was founded by losing one province to Turkey. But we cannot give up on it’. We had this meeting in Hasakah [northwest Syria] at the YPG’s public relations building.

AA: How did you decide on what to say as the SDF spokesman?

TS: I was appointed to the spokesman position on Cilo’s order. Once appointed, Bahoz Erdal [then the PKK’s Syria representative] invited me for a meal at Karachok [in Syria]. We talked about everything. He gave me a gun as gift.

At the SDF, instructions to make statements came from Cilo. He sent me the statements either through WhatsApp or Viber. I copy edited. Nurettin Sofi came after Bahoz Erdal left. He [Sofi], also supervised the statements [as Cilo’s superior].

I even published condolence messages on approval. The statement I read on the rescue of Raqqah was also given to me by Cilo. I don’t think he wrote it either. He did not have such a capability.

AA: Were there any press statements demanded by the Americans?

TS: They wanted us to condemn an explosion in Turkey. They also wanted to make a statement that the SDF was not related to the PKK. Cilo gave the statement. When Cilo was asked the reason, he said ‘The U.S. wanted it. Thus, it will be shown that there is no relation between us [the SDF] and the PKK’. Our role was on paper.

AA: How was communication between the so-called SDF and the Qandil leaders of the PKK carried out?

TS: Even though Sahin Cilo was the SDF general commander, he did not have a say. The instructions came from Bahoz Erdal and Bahoz was taking orders from Sabri Ok [senior PKK leader]. It took me two years to figure out these relationships. It was not easy.

In particular, they had to keep me at the meetings with the U.S. I even attended the delivery of guns. I had gained their confidence during this time. I had grasped all of their private secrets. The PKK is making military, civil and economic decisions in the region. All decisions are taken from Qandil [the PKK’s main base, in Iraq], and those there [Syria] just apply them.

AA: How did the PKK/PYD start receiving support from the U.S. under the name of SDF?

TS: Since the foundation of SDF there had been weapon and ammunition support from the U.S. They were parachuting them to the YPG.

After the declaration of the SDF, the weapon and ammunition support was made under different names without mentioning the Kurdish element at the request of the U.S.

I also received two shipments of guns. The ones we received were light weapons. They were Russian-made. An American delegation arrived when the SDF was established.

The SDF military council members’ fingerprints and retina were scanned and photographs were taken.

When they first arrived on the ground, the Americans settled at a small base in Istirahat al-Wazir, located between Tall Tamr and Hasakah. They made it into a helipad. They established a second base named Tal Baidar near the Dirbasiye road. A helicopter base was also established here.

They were giving us weapons from there. They were also coming from the Semalka border crossing [on the Syria-Iraq border] as well.

Then the Celebi base came into effect. It used to be a cement factory. It was near Sarrin, located between Ain Issa and Qere Qozaq bridge. They built a big U.S. base there. It is the main station for all the support provided to SDF. The support increased when the Celebi base came into force.

We got full support after Trump arrived. We have seen hundreds of military vehicles carrying military supplies from the Semalka border gate. They all got moved to Celebi. From there, it is given to the YPG under the guise of the SDF.

On arriving at Celebi, there is a YPG representative whose name is Hemin. He provides coordination. Whether it’s a gun or a vehicle, he receives them. He sometimes leaves it at the base, sometimes he places them at the main station in the same region. He also delivers them to the YPG’s commander in charge of arms… He then distributes them to certain regions.

AA: What kind of support does the U.S. provide, other than weapons assistance?

TS: They provide military training. There was a camp built for this purpose. There are health centers for treatment. They use it for first aid and quick surgical operations. There are American and French health careteams. The French also provided sniper training.

AA: Did you get any signal of the U.S. stopping support?

TS: According to recent statements by the U.S., there will be no more delivery of weapons. But they have already received enough weapons. There is no limit on the money they received.

AA: Can the PKK/PYD act independently of the U.S.?

TS: No moves can be made without the approval of the U.S. because the U.S. provides support, especially air support. The Americans cannot eliminate Daesh without ground operations. Everybody knew that.

AA: Are there no conflicts between the PKK/PYD leaders and the U.S.?

TS: There are no conflicts because the two sides have established an alliance on all matters. The U.S. provided open and unlimited military support to the SDF. There is a common benefit in acting together.

The interest of the SDF or the PKK was to dominate all these regions and indeed they did. This would not have happened without the U.S.

AA: What is the extent of U.S. military presence on Syrian territory?

TS: There are currently 2,000 American soldiers, according to what we have been told. There are trainers, consultants and liaison officers for air operations. There are marine batteries and special forces personnel. There are other countries as well — England, France, Denmark — but very few.

AA: What is the influence of Brett McGurk [the U.S. special representative for the anti-Daesh coalition] in Syria?

TS: He has been very effective since the beginning. For instance, in our first meeting at Celebi base, the liberation of Manbij was discussed. He was the one who suggested it. He said that in order to persuade the Turkish side, a special military council for the city, mainly formed by Arabs, must be established.

Thus, he wanted to create the perception that the city’s own sons had saved Manbij. We saw the same suggestion in Raqqah. When making these proposals, he said: ‘We need to convince the Turkish side.’ So he told us we had to give the impression of Arab elements being on the ground.

The Manbij Turkmen Units appeared on the Manbij Military Council but there was nobody. I even wrote made-up names on the council that were linked to me. It was done at McGurk’s request.

Again, in the Raqqah operation, it was announced that only the Arab coalition would participate. Actually, there was no such thing as the Arab coalition. McGurk was directing the SDF’s hidden policies given under the command of Sahin and Cilo.

Following the rescue of Manbij, he [McGurk] wanted us to release a statement that the SDF had rescued the city and the YPG had pulled out of the city and that those staying were the locals of the city. There was obviously no connection to the reality.

AA: The PKK/PYD’s agreement with Daesh in Raqqah to help them leave caused a big reaction. What happened in Raqqah?

TS: The Raqqah negotiations were done at the SDF’s general headquarters in Ain Issa. They lasted for two days. Abu Muhammad [who liaised with Daesh], Cilo and his deputy Kahraman met.

Daesh did not have any other place to go but Deir ez-Zor. The U.S. seemed to agree with that. Because the SDF made two moves [in Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor] at the same time, their men in Deir ez-Zor were weak.

The U.S. wanted the SDF to start the Deir ez-Zor operation to reach the Iraqi border before the [Syrian] regime army arrived.

According to the Americans, the regime army could reach Deir ez-Zor in six weeks. But when the regime army proceeded faster than expected, the U.S. wanted the SDF to begin negotiations with Daesh.

Thus, the terrorists would go to Al-Bukamal [near the Iraqi border] and prevent the regime’s advance. Talks were held to allow 3,500 terrorists to leave. There were about 500 women and children.

The U.S. and Cilo wanted these terrorists to reach Deir ez-Zor before the Syrian regime army. For this reason, the ones leaving Raqqah would not be shot.

The same day, Cilo asked me to stage a drama in front of the press. As the media team, we prepared the ‘drama’. According to the drama, at the initiative of Arab tribes from Raqqah, 275 local Daesh terrorists had surrendered to the SDF. In return, 3,500 so-called civilians were going to be released.

In the drama, to show the presence of 275 people they brought some people from Ain Issa camp. They played a second drama to the press.

They forbid journalists from going to Raqqah. They told the journalists that they would fight foreign Daesh members who are unwilling to leave the area. But they did not even shoot a bullet.

During this time, Daesh members who left the city, reached the places they were going. Then we announced that Raqqah was taken.

We found out later that some of Daesh members gave bribes and went to other places. Most of them entered the Operation Euphrates Shield area [areas of Syria towards the Turkey border previously cleared of Daesh by Turkish-backed fighters].

AA: What did you see when you entered Raqqah?

TS: What happened in Raqqah was not saving the city but demolishing it. I went there the day we were going to declare it’s clearance.

Unfortunately, I was shocked by the magnitude of the destruction in the city. More than 95 percent of it was destroyed.

The aim of establishing the SDF was to save our people and our land from Daesh’s terror and oppression. But if what I saw was salvation, there was no need for such salvation because it was destruction.

Destruction was carried out at the hands of both sides. The SDF destroyed it and the U.S. caused the destruction of the entire city. I still do not know the reason.

Later, the Raqqah Civilian Council asked for financial support from the international community to reconstruct the city. They seemed to get personal benefits on the pretext of the city’s reconstruction.

AA: Were there any other collusions like Raqqah?

TS: Raqqah was not the first place where they evacuated Daesh by agreement. It was the third. The U.S. and Cilo did it by common consent.

The Manbij Military Council issued a statement just before Manbij was declared clear. It announced that 2,000 Daesh members were allowed to leave the city with human shields. The SDF, the U.S. and Manbij Military Council provided security for Daesh members and allowed them to go towards Jarablus. This was the first agreement.

AA: Where was the other agreement between PKK/PYD and Daesh?

TS: The other one was in Al Tabqah [on the Euphrates River]. Tabqah is divided into two — the dam area and the resident area, Sevre. Tabqah was recovered and it was announced. But Sevre was not.

Operations were launched so many times but they failed. Daesh resisted strongly. They were obliged to negotiate. Abu Muhammad stepped in. His sister’s husband was a Daesh commander in Tabqah. He was asked to meet Daesh for the safe exit of 500 terrorists by Cilo and the Americans.

Daesh’s demand was to go to Tabqah from Raqqah with their weapons and ammunition. After Cilo met the Americans on our behalf, Daesh’s safe exit was allowed.

AA: Turkey had proposed the U.S. to take Raqqah through a joint operation. Did the U.S. convey this on the ground?

TS: I also attended that meeting [in Celebi base] at which the Americans brought that proposal. McGurk and [U.S. Senator] John McCain were there.

McCain said Turkey proposed to send its troops to Raqqah along with Arab fighters through a 25-kilometercorridor to be opened from Tell Abiad.

What McCain brought was just a proposal, it was not binding.

When Sahin Cilo realized that he said they would not open even a 25-centimeter corridor for Turkey and those who would accompany them. McCain was content with those words.

Then, we talked about the SDF’s weapon demands. McCain reiterated his support. He promised to help. He said they would oppose only one thing — they could not give anti- aircraft guns.

AA: The U.S. reacted by written statement to the terrorist leader Ocalan’s posters being displayed in Raqqah. What happened between the parties?

TS: The Americans had always warned about posters and slogans to avoid difficulty for the organization in terms of public opinion. The Kurdish side did not accept the warning.

There were posters of Ocalan in places where the Americans met us. One was even present at the first congress of the SDF. All of the flags in the region are of the YPG, the YPJ, etc. So, you cannot see any SDF flags.

The Americans know full well who they are working with.

AA: Did not the leaders of organization asked for open support in the international arena for the PKK/KCK, which is the main body of the organization, in return for the support they provided?

TS: How much more support would it be? The PKK needs weapons and financial support. The weapons go to SDF and from there to the YPG. They reach the PKK from the YPG. So Sahin Cilo does not need to tell them to give weapons to the PKK. At the end, they already reached the PKK through the YPG.

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  • Ivanus59

    This guy managed to betray every side in this war (and still be alive (for now)) lol, congratz on that!

    • Pave Way IV

      It’s a little more complicated than that. He was originally with the Seljuk Brigade – Syrain Turkmen rebels originally armed and supplied by Turkey, but operating as part of the FSA. They got screwed out of additional weapons/ammo by Turkey after al Rai, and generally didn’t approve of Turkey sending troops into Syria. Syrian Turkmen were usually fighting against the Kurds – while the Saljuk Brigade was fighting with them against ISIS. They ended up being part of the initial forces along with the Syrian Kurds operating under the SDF label. It’s obvious from the interviews that he considered the SDF an American intervention and weapons-transfer scam hiding behind carefully-crafted, tightly-controlled propaganda. The Turkmen unit he commanded in the SDF was undermanned and the unit was created mostly for show, as were the Arab units (but they were promoted to cannon-fodder in Raqqa). The US wanted the SDF to control the Syrian-Iraqi border to cut off the imaginary Shia arc – fighting ISIS was almost a side-job, and the US let them escape by the thousands. He ‘defected’ because the SDF arms-trafficking project is collapsing and unneeded by the US any more. How long would you stick around if you were no longer getting paid?

      Given all that, exactly which side did he betray? Sounds like he just changed employers after they screwed or betrayed him. He’s a Syrian Turkmen and probably can’t go back to his home ever again because the US-backed Asayish SDF Gestapo would kill him. I doubt he even wants to be in Turkey right now.

      • Frane Frlan

        Syrian Turkmens played significant role in arming ISIS. Besides, 80% of foreign ISIS fighters came in Syria from Turkey. This guy is all way down connected with Turkey’s intelligence and Turkey government. He is now playing different song because of climate change between Russia/Turkey, and Erdogan is keeping his “grey wolves” on a short leash.
        His story is not from yesterday and he was surely involved in helping bandits big time.

        • Brother Ma

          Very true! It was Syrian turkmen led by a salafist Turk, who is son of erdogan politician who shot russian marine and helicopter pilot that happened just after russia entered the war.

          Russia caught up with the Turcomans who did this but leader turk escaped to turkey and went missing. Mysteriously, when Turkey sucked up russias backside, this politician son was caught eating in a restaurant in turkey ,by turco and russian police and arrested.

          I have not heard anything about him since turkey and russia became pals. Secretly let go?

          It would be good to have southfront do an update piece on what has happened to this Greywolf salafist turk cur!

          Now us was happy to have turco man isis ranks when us and erdogan were pals but not now. Frane why do you say most isis are turks? What is your logic?out of curiosity.

          • Frane Frlan

            You get me wrong: foreign (foreign ISIS fighters like from Europe, former Soviet Union, etc.), came to Syria trough Turkey. Not just somebody organised the transport, and cross over, somebody somewhere armed them. There were plenty of pictures of weaponry and ammunition with turkey army signs on it. The personal body guard of Erdogan shoot ambassador, and he was high ranking officer in special unit, his brother died in Syria, fighting against regular Syrian army in Aleppo.

      • RGtz98

        He was in the SAA before I believe

      • Ivanus59

        Okay so he managed to BE BETRAYED by every side in the war? :P Except by SAA who he deserted from at the very start… Anyway he is a simple tool, pawn to be used by Turkey or USA as are all of them terrorists, nothing too surprising that they would get fucked over sooner or later.

  • Bru

    Fantastic interview, clarifies so much about the hypocrisy of the US regime re. their relationship with the SDF terrorists and their use of ISIS to destroy Syria.

    • Bob

      The repeated remarks about the wholesale US-SDF destruction of Raqqa are very interesting. The implication is that the US Marine artillery units bombarding the city had dual roles. To use their raw firepower to get ISIS resistance to negotiate and exit – but equally to level the Syrian Arab city of Raqqa, right next to the major Syrian Taqqba Dam hydro-electric infrastructure, so that its Syrian Arab inhabitants lost their homes and became refugees. The latter implication is of a US sponsored and Marine artillery enacted ethnic cleansing of the Syrian Arabs of Raqqa – by heavy destruction of the city – freeing it up for a full Syrian Kurdish future appropriation.

  • Serious

    How does he feel to be a stupid guy that betrayed his country ?

    • FlorianGeyer

      He exposed what most of us knew , that the US will squander the lives of billions to keep the Zionist Military Industrial Complex and banking cartels in power.

      The US regimes have betrayed the American People , so how can any nations of the globe have trust in any treaty or promises that the US governments make ?

      • Langaniso Mhlobo

        Thumbs up very true.

  • Jonathan Cohen

    ABORTION RIGHTS FOR RAQQA FOREVER! though I do hope the us supplied weapons stay south, out of abortion rights defending Turkey, at least as long as Turkey continues to defend ABORTION RIGHTS! Ideally, after crushing ISIS, they will be used to liberate Kirkuk and Mosul for abortion rights! then Riyad!

  • Langaniso Mhlobo

    There you have it PKK=YPG=SDF.USA is in Syria to destroy and create ethnic division. Therefore Russia should stick to the Syrian government invitation and force USA and SDF out of Syria. No more joint control rooms with terrorist YPG=SDF.No more Russian hidden agreements with USA.Any agreements must be led by legitimate SyrIan government. All the USA created councils must be abolished.

    Finally Just because Russia has oil deals with Iraqi Kurdistan it wants to make a favour for them in Syria.Arab and Muslims are business people the it can easily fall in money trap but if betrayed their will tell the truth to the whole world.May our God the God of Abraham, Isak and Jacob protected him.Thank for your honesty.