SDF is “theatre” hiding U.S. weapons trafficking to PKK - former commander

A former senior commander in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who defected to Turkey has claimed that the SDF was being used as cover for U.S. weapons transfers to the Kurdish separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been at war with Turkey intermittently since its founding in 1978.

“All these games were being played in order that it would not emerge that these weapons had reached the PKK,” former Brigadier General and spokesman of the SDF Talal Silo said in an interview with Turkish state news agency Anadolu. “But we were certain that these advanced weapons had gone to the PKK and YPG.”

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), who make up the majority of the SDF forces, are a Kurdish-majority PKK-linked armed group based in Northern Syria.

Silo’s mostly Turkmen-origin Seljuk Brigade forces had not been given the weaponry they needed, even though they signed documents for the Americans saying that they had received them, he said.

“At first, we just signed to say that we had received the weapons,” he said. “But all the weapons went to a Turkish Kurd who was a PKK leader called Safkan. He took the weapons somewhere only he knows.”

He also accused the United States of assisting in facilitating Islamic State (ISIS) smuggling.

“They talked of fighting terror, but we saw that the terror organisation ISIS members’ smuggling was being carried out in agreement with the U.S. administration and (senior PKK member) Şahin Cilo,” Silo said.

The idea of the SDF being an independent democratic alliance between the YPG and local non-Kurdish forces was also for show, Silo said.

“They are actually controlled by the United States,” he said. “Even if they have elections, it is all theatre.”