Defector: Thousands of ISIS Fighters Left Raqqa in Secret Deal

US Accuses Former SDF Commander of Lying

Back in mid-November, Maj. Gen. Talal Silo, a commander and spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), defected from Syrian Kurdish territory into Turkey. Today, he offered new insight on the evacuation deal for the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

Silo’s revelation was that, far from evacuating “fewer than 300” ISIS fighters, the secret deal, which the US approved, had Kurdish forces providing buses to evacuate every remaining ISIS fighter from the city, and that this was several thousand fighters.

Ironically, Silo was the spokesman who announced the false deal in October with less than 300 involved. He says officials invented reports of heavy fighting in Raqqa amount remaining fighters during the evacuation both as cover for the bigger evacuation and to keep journalists out of the area.

Silo’s revelation is in keeping with other reports about the evacuation being much larger than officially admitted, with the BBC and other media outlets finding evidence that the evacuation was not limited to only a few “local” ISIS members as previously claimed. Silo’s comments offer even more specifics.

The US, however, is angrily rejecting the report, saying Silo’s comments ae “false and contrived,” appearing to suggest that they believe this is Turkey pushing a narrative that embarrasses the US and its Kurdish allies.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.