INTERVIEW: Former SDF spokesman tells of US arming terrorists
Talal Silo tells details of US arming terror groups in region and how the terrorist PKK/PYD-dominated SDF was formed
A former spokesperson and defector from the Syrian SDF, a group dominated by the terrorist PKK/PYD, spoke to Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Talal Silo, a former high-ranking commander and spokesperson of the U.S.-backed force who defected from the terrorist group last month, is currently in Turkey.
Silo told Anadolu Agency details of the U.S. arming terrorist groups in the region and what some U.S. officials thought about the PKK/PYD's presence in northern Syria.
Despite Turkey's objections, the U.S. has provided the PKK/PYD with arms, calling it an ally in the fight against Daesh, but ignoring its terrorist group status.
He also explained how the PKK-terrorist dominated force was formed and how the U.S. made a controversial deal to allow Daesh terrorists to leave the city of Raqqah before it was liberated.
QUESTION: How did you get involved with PKK at first?
ANSWER: At first, an invitation was sent [from YPG] to my group which is Seljukian Army. They recommended me to join Jaysh al-Thuwar [Army of Revolutionaries]. I agreed with the ones in Afrin and joined them. The person responsible for PKK in Afrin was Haji Ahmad Hudro.
They were preparing for the establishment of the Jaysh al-Thuwar. Abu Ali Berad was the head of Arabs and Salah Jebbo was the head of Kurds.
I was responsible for the Turkmens. I went to Afrin in the beginning of August 2015. I worked at Jaysh al-Thuwar's administration. But we were not the decision maker, it was [PKK member] Hudro.
Later they told me that I would join SDF. We held the first meeting with PKK regional manager Shahin Jilo. Our meeting with SDF was on October, 15. But Shahin Jilo [who announced the establishment of the SDF] wanted us to write the date of meeting as October, 10, 2017.
When we asked for the reason, they told us that the U.S. sent arms to YPG from Al-Hasakah between October 10 and October 15. They did it to allow the U.S. to explain the situation to the international community. To be able to say the arms are not going to YPG but to SDF. This is how SDF was established.
QUESTION: Gen. Raymond Thomas, the head of the U.S. Army's Special Forces, said that with a logical move they found the name SDF for YPG to acquire reputation. Has not SDF had its own identity yet?
ANSWER: It is only a name. Nothing else. We take everything, including salaries, from YPG.
The basic reason for SDF's establishment is the U.S. The U.S. authorities wanted to give arms to Kurds. Announcement of SDF's establishment was only a drama. They mentioned the unity of the components, but there is no such thing.
The U.S. gave the leadership to the Kurds and PKK. They talked about fight against terrorism, but then we saw that the U.S. authorities were trafficking terrorist organization Daesh's members with an agreement they did with Shahin Jilo.
They wanted to influence the ideas of citizens in the region via SDF. They introduce SDF as a force that is liberating and fighting against terrorism. But because of them, houses were demolished, people were forced to emigrate. They did not even let the people be in the camps, they drove them into panic.
QUESTION: At one point, the U.S. claimed that they were helping the Arabs, not YPG. Was that right?
ANSWER: Initially, we were just signing [documents given by the Americans] for receiving the arms. But all of the arms were going to one of the PKK leaders, a Turkish Kurd, Safkan.
Safkan was taking the arms to a place only they knew. It is still going on like this. For instance, in Manbij operation, all of the arms were delivered to [on papers] Arab originated Abu Amjad. They did it on purpose. But it was a drama. I receive large amounts of arms but they do not give me a single piece of it. My duty and authority is just to sign.
QUESTION: Why did the U.S. choose such method?
ANSWER: All of the ideas were coming from Brett McGurk. During 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. Deir ez-Zor military council only puts signature.
The U.S. knew about this, [but] they wanted to play as they like. All those schemes were made to cover that these arms were delivered to PKK. But we were sure that these advanced arms were going to PKK and YPG.
QUESTION: Does the U.S. monitor where the provided arms are delivered and used against whom?
ANSWER: 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. The U.S. already knows that Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians were not included in this equation. There was limited support during Obama's time. After Trump came in, the way of support has changed. When Trump came, armored vehicles started to come.
QUESTION: Shahin Farhad Abdi, alias Shahin Jilo, is in Turkey's wanted list. He is in category red and 4 million Turkish lira has been put on his head. How much influence Jilo, who poses with the U.S. authorities, has?
ANSWER: [For the arms] we were making a demand list. Shahin Jilo was submitting the list. The arms given wouldn't be seen on the media. They did not want the type of the arms to be known.
QUESTION: Who manages the structure appeared as SDF?
ANSWER: Actually, the U.S. side manages it. Even if there are elections, all of them are a drama. Everybody knows Shahin Jilo. This person is in-charge of the things. His deputy was Kahraman. He is also one of the PKK administrators.
I was number 3 in authority. There are check points and chasing teams belong to the PKK in each place. In courts, civilian councils, health and in other fields, there is one PKK leader for sure
QUESTION: Where are the PKK's Qandil staffers placed in SDF?
ANSWER: Even though Jilo is the head, there is another authority above him. He is Bahoz Erdal. Bahoz also takes instructions from Qandil, which means from Sabri Ok.
When Erdal was appointed to Qandil, Nureddin Sofi took his place. He gives the instruction to Jilo. Jilo and [his deputy] Kahraman are only in the leaders team.
There are many offices, but because of the conflicts, new names could not be brought.
PKK and YPG persons responsible in Afrin are Haji Ahmad Hudro, Mahmud Berhudan and Nocin [for women]. Administratively, the whole area is administered by Khalil Tefdem. Bahoz Erdal gives him instructions.
Manbij is administered by one of PKK leaders Ismail Direk, but Cemil Mazlum is responsible for militant.
Raqqah's civilian and military administrator is Hasan, who was brought from the Europe.
Deir ez-Zor's is Polat Can and he is one of the top names of PKK. I too, once, received an invitation from Qandil to meet Murat Karayilan thanks to my relation with Bahoz. They canceled it fearing that our photos would be released [in media], while we were going there. Nureddin Sofi went there while Karayilan was releasing a statement. Then he came back.
They were going and coming secretly. 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.
QUESTION: How many armed men are operating under the name of SDF?
ANSWER: Even though there is no net data, it has 50,000 militants including both men and women. 70 percent of them are YPG and YPJ [women elements].
There were 65 people under my leadership. Assyrian Military Council has only 50 people. They wanted to establish Turkmen Military Council symbolically.
I recommended 150 names, but they said Why 150? 50 are enough. There are Al-Sanadid Forces from Arabs in Shammar Ashira. Seikh Bender is the head of this force.
They are also ignored by the PKK. Also, 80 percent of the people who died during Raqqah operations were Arabs and 20 percent were Kurds. We see that number of Arabs have risen, but they were cheated. They were given fake promises. Even though YPG seems as a part of SDF, they do not accept it and they say that they are independent. SDF is just a name. It has no real existence on the earth.
QUESTION: What is the situation of people who join YPG from western countries?
ANSWER: They were coming from various countries and joining 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 and they try to declare themselves as national heroes.
QUESTION: How much money do organization members get?
ANSWER: Salaries are around $170-200 monthly. Leaders do not get paid but they earn from smuggling and bribe. I was being paid directly by Shahin Jilo. I was given thousands of dollars and my situation was very good. Militants are paid in Syrian pound. PKK leaders' team is unpaid but all of their demands are met. Later, corruptions already came to light.
Source: Anadolu Agency