Researchers and analysts who are familiar with the Syria Democratic Forces operating with American backing in Northern and Eastern Syria have long noted that the SDF is nothing more than the YPG along with a heavy peppering of Arab jihadists. Yet the corporate press in the United States continues to claim that the SDF are merely moderates (vetted, of course, for their moderation) who have no other interest than democracy in Syria.
However, while attempting to denigrate any independent research into the SDF by alt media researchers, the MSM has missed a glaring admission by the Special Operations Command, General Raymond Thomas, made on July 21, 2017 at the Aspen Institute Security Forum.
When asked by the interviewer about an example of how SOCOM “identifies enablers on the ground,” General Thomas replied,
As you know, sometimes it’s of necessity. [You know,] who’s available? The one that I think is most discussed and most misunderstood is the evolution with our counterpart in Syria, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces. Now, interestingly, they came about that name because they wanted, and I dealt with them directly, I was in on the formative stage of the relationship with these guys. They formerly called themselves the YPG which the Turks would say equated to the PKK and say “You’re dealing with a terrorist enemy of mine. How could you do that, ally?” So we literally played back to them, you know, you’ve got to change your brand. You know, what do you want to call yourself besides the YPG. And, with about a day’s notice, they declared that they were the Syrian Democratic Forces. I thought it was a stroke of brilliance to put “democracy” in there somewhere but it gave them a little bit of credibility. And the interesting part, and I was lucky to have a great partner in Brett McGurk out there with me about the same time because they were asking for things that I couldn’t give them and it literally was an acknowledgement that they were the demographic dominant force in Northern Syria. They wanted a seat at the table whether it’s at Geneva, or Astana, or wherever talks are happening about the future of Syria and, because they had been branded as PKK, they could never get to the table. So while we paired with them militarily, Brett McGurk was able to keep them in the conversation and allow them the necessary legitimacy to be good partners for us so it was literally something “I need you militarily, the diplomat here will deliver an entrée if nothing else for you to be legitimate, you know, from a state standpoint or at least from a government standpoint later on.
So, for anyone attempting to paint the SDF as anything but a conglomeration of radical Marxist Kurds from the YPG and a jihadist component, it seems General Thomas has ended the debate.
As has been the case with ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria, the United States has simply changed the name of a group it is fighting with in order to achieve diplomatic, political, or propaganda goals.