World Bulletin / News Desk
The SDF was formed in October 2015 when the PKK/PYD -- the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, a terror group that has targeted Turkey for more than 30 years -- incorporated several fighting groups.
Many view the umbrella group as a fig leaf to disguise U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization but the U.S. sees as its ally in combating ISIL in Syria.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.
According to officials in Turkey and Syria who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the PKK/PYD makes up the upper echelons of the SDF and the bulk of its fighting force.
Images from Syria shared on social media often show militants wearing SDF and PKK/PYD insignia fighting alongside each other.
One source said the PKK/PYD had established more than 30 camps in Syria’s Al-Hasakah, Afrin and Kobani regions under the banner of the SDF.
U.S. military aid to Syria has been designated as destined for the SDF, rather than the PKK/PYD.
Abdulkarim al-Ubaid, formerly a senior figure in an SDF-affiliated Arab group, described the PKK/PYD dominance within the force.