DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:45 P.M.) – Footage has now emerged backing up previous reports by Al-Masdar News which suggested upwards of 50 Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters defected to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Aleppo today.
The footage showed approximately 25 FSA militants, some of whom were still in the teens, along with 6 technicals gifted to the SAA. In addition, dozens of automatic rifles were surrendered to government forces:
The rebel fighters had stood idle by for months in the Jarabulus pockets and seemed eager to join the SAA in the battle against ISIS elsewhere in the embattled country.
The SAA had reportedly spoken to the FSA platoon’s commander for several weeks, carefully negotiating the rare defection in secret.
However, Turkish authorities managed to arrest an additional 25 FSA members who tried to join the SAA, thus explaining the early number of 50 defected fighters.