ISIS members fighting alongside Turkey-backed forces in Syria - monitoring group head
At least eight members of the Islamic State (ISIS) are part of the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army, which is supporting an offensive in northeast Syria, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman said.
The observatory has documented with absolute evidence that members of the jihadi organisation have joined the ranks of two Islamist militia groups that are part of the Syrian National Army, al-Hamzat and Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Abdul Rahman told the Syrian Kurdish North Press agency.
While there information that hundreds of ISIS militants are among the ranks of Turkey-backed National Army, "we have only confirmed at least eight cases,” the director said.
Turkish forces along with Turkey-backed opposition fighters launched a cross-border military offensive into neighbouring Syria on Oct. 9 with the aim of pushing the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), away from its border. The SDF had spearheaded a U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in northeastern Syria.
Ankara has long viewed the SDF’s presence near the border as a threat because of ties to a Kurdish separatist group in Turkey, namely the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey, the EU and the United States have .S. designated a terrorist organisation.
Criticising the silence of the international community on the presence of ISIS members in the Syrian National Army, Abdul Rahman said the men are being considered former members, which he maintained should not exempt them from being deemed as militants.