HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) - In a surprise move, over a hundred members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels announced they joined the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The declaration came at a Thursday press conference in Syria's northeastern Kurdish city of Hasaka to mark the anniversary of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The brigadier-general Husam Awaak talked to Kurdistan24 about leaving the FSA rebel group and joining the SDF.
Awaak said the reason they left the FSA rebel group is that the group has turned into one controlled by jihadists and extremists who receive orders from the regional states.
"[We deflected from the FSA] because of the Turkish occupation and the intervention of the Turkish intelligence in Syria," he said.
Awaak further added that their disputes resulted from transporting the extremists from Turkey's southern town of Rihaniya on the border with Syria to Syria's northern town of Jarabulus.
Additionally, the spokesperson of the Syrian Kurdish forces of People's Protection Units (YPG) Redur Khalil talked to Kurdistan24 about the importance of the growing power of the SDF by having more Syrian rebel groups joining it.
"Definitely, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently has become an icon for fighting against Deash," he said.
"The SDF has gained international trust and support," he further explained.
TIMELINE: SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES (SDF)
The SDF, founded in October 2015, unites Arab, Turkmen and Armenian militias, as well as Free Syrian Army (FSA) units.
The SDF liberated several IS strongholds in north and northeast Syria.
On Feb. 10, SDF announced the control of Mengh and its military airport, north of Aleppo, Syria.
On Feb. 16, SDF launched a three-day military offensive titled “Wrath of Khabour” which ended in al-Shaddadi's liberation on Feb. 19.
Recently, the YPG-led, US-backed SDF launched the Manbij operation on May 31 and liberated the town fully on August 12 after a two-month battle.
Although mainstream media presents SDF as an inclusive force, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the primary element of the coalition and outnumbers all other groups.
Editing by Ava Homa