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    Turkish forces and members of the Free Syrian Army are seen at the al Baza'a village on the outskirts of al-Bab town in Syria February 4, 2017

    Up to 60 Free Syrian Army Rebels Join Ranks of Pro-Assad Forces

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    According to information received by Sputnik, 60 members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have joined the ranks of the Syrian government’s army and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) the backbone of which is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

    Turkey trained members of the Free Syrian Army in the framework of Operation Euphrates Shield. 

    According to the source, 35 fighters have now joined the ranks of pro-Assad troops and 25 joined the SDF.

    “These fighters are from the divisions of Sultan Murad, Feylek El Sam and the special forces of Alparslan, which is a part of the FSA. Two days ago they deserted with their weapons from the FSA units and joined our detachments and the Syrian army,” the source from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Sputnik Turkey.

    The source further said that 25 fighters who joined the SDF surrendered their weapons to the soldiers of the Military Council of Manbijah in the village of Sekeriye, located between El-Bab and Manbij.

    “At present, we are collecting information about these 25 soldiers. If we do not find any serious misconduct on their part they can stay with us,” he stressed.

    Ebu Ali Reslan, commander of the Alparslan Special Forces unit and one of the commanders of the Free Syrian Army, Ebu Hayr, also appear to be among the fighters who have deserted the FSA.

    Ankara-led Operation Euphrates Shield was aimed at pushing Daesh out of cities and settlements located on Syria's border with Turkey. The large-scale military campaign was also aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and linking areas they control into a single border region. 

    The Turkish military and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army liberated the cities of al-Bab and Jarabulus as part of the campaign, creating a buffer zone in northern Syria.

    The Ankara-trained FSA force was said to consist of 10,000 fighters.

    The military intervention came to an end in March.

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    Tags:
    fighters, desertion, interview, special forces, Syrian Arab Army, Free Syrian Army (FSA), Syria
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