A high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces that captured the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State has recanted his account of the city’s fall, saying thousands of IS fighters – many more than first reported – left under a secret, U.S.-approved deal.
Talal Silo, a former commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces, said the SDF arranged to bus all remaining Islamic State militants out of Raqqa even though it said at the time it was battling diehard foreign jihadists in the city.
U.S. officials described Silo’s comments as “false and contrived” but a security official in Turkey, where Silo defected three weeks ago, gave a similar account of Islamic State’s defeat in its Syrian stronghold. Turkey has been at odds with Washington over U.S. backing for the Kurdish forces who led the fight for Raqqa.
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