Syrian Kurdish-majority militia spokesman thought to have defected to Turkey

The spokesman of the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria fled the movement and gave himself up to Free Syrian Army troops, who took him to Turkey where he is said to have defected, media said.

The reason for Talal Silo’s dramatic move is as yet unknown, but Reuters said it came after “months of growing discontent by some Arab tribes with the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces that is dominated by the Kurdish YPG”.

“His defection was being negotiated for almost a month. Turkey thought it was taking too long, so they threatened they would make it public,” BBC journalist Riam Dalati quoted an anonymous source as telling him.

Dalati also mentioned rumours that Silo thought that the SDF might execute him after a recent disagreement.

Analyst Mustafa Karakaş said that Turkmen-origin Silo may have realised the game was up for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose armed wing dominates the SDF.

“As the Syrian opposition’s strength is almost used up, the regime will fight the PYD in the name of securing its territorial integrity,” he said. “And there’s no chance of the PYD winning that kind of war.”