More than 120 Daesh militants join the SDF group in Deir Ezzor, UK-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights reported on Wednesday.

This October 20, 2017 file photo shows a prison built by in the city of Raqqa, Syria, where the SDF earlier gave free pass to Daesh fighters in exchange of surrender.
This October 20, 2017 file photo shows a prison built by in the city of Raqqa, Syria, where the SDF earlier gave free pass to Daesh fighters in exchange of surrender. (AP)

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a militant group armed by the United States in Syria – released more than 400 Daesh members including commanders, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights said on Wednesday.

The members were brought from the countryside surrounding the eastern city of Deir Ezzor and northeastern city of Hasakah, but were returned to the villages that they came from weeks after they were arrested and questioned, the Observatory said.

"SOHR monitored that more than 120 members of them have joined the SDF," the monitor said.

The monitor's statement says that following the move, tensions were reported in the eastern and northern countryside of Deir Ezzor where residents opposed the return of the former Daesh militants to their villages.

Residents in several areas in the Deir Ezzor countryside also attacked the returning Daesh militants, and in some skirmishes light weapons were used. 

Similar skirmishes were also reported in the Hasakah countryside.

SDF relations with PKK

The BBC revealed in October a secret deal between the SDF and Daesh allowed hundreds of Daesh militants escape from Syria's Raqqa.

Although the SDF, an armed coalition founded with US support in 2015, has Arab and Turkmen elements, it is led mainly by PKK-linked YPG militants.

The US has continuously provided the YPG and its affiliated groups with arms, calling it an ally in the fight against Daesh.

But Turkey, a US ally within the NATO bloc, accuses the US of ignoring the group's links with the PKK, which is internationally recognised as a terrorist organisation.

Former US Defense Chief Ash Carter admitted in April 2016 that the YPG and its political wing, the PYD, are linked to the PKK.

The head of the US special forces in 2015 urged the YPG to "rebrand" itself to avoid Turkish criticism and give the group a role in Syria's future.

The group was then renamed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), General Raymond Thomas said in July 2017.

A former spokesperson for the YPG group, Talal Silo, who defected from the SDF and is now in Turkey, said the group was "just a name" that provided cover for the US to support the YPG.

Silo also explained how the group was formed and how the US made a controversial deal to allow Daesh militants to leave the city of Raqqa before it was taken over by the US-backed forces.

The YPG is currently occupying more than a fourth of Syrian territory. Their strategy for expansion has grown as it has expanded the area under its control, starting from the Iraqi border in eastern Syria, then west along the Turkish border.

Turkey has warned the US about the YPG's goals. However, the US government says the developments are only linked to the fight against Daesh.

Source: TRT World