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Fact check: Did the US-led Coalition hand control of some SDF territory in Syria to the FSA?

On May 10, Asaad Hanna, a media advisor for the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee and previously a political officer in the FSA, shared a letter purportedly from Captain Ashraf, a US Army officer.

Hanna, whose Twitter account has been verified, said the letter authorised Liwa al-Moutasim, a Free Syrian Army brigade, to take control of of a large area around Tal Rifaat, near Azaz, from the SDF.

“We, the Coalition forces the authority to Al-Muatasim (LAM) Brigade to take charge and administer the following areas which had been captured and currently controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF):

AL-Malikayah, Shawaghir, Mur Anaz, Minaq, Ain Daqna, Tall Riff’at, As-Sheikh Issa Harbal, Muraimin and Deir Jaml.”

Extract from letter purportedly from Captain Ashraf, US Army SF

The letter appears to have originated from Mustafa Sejari, and the claim was retweeted by an account purportedly controlled by Liwa al-Moutasim.

The letter looked to us like a crude fake, so we asked the Coalition.

“We are aware of these open source reports, however, there is no validity to their claims. The Coalition has no control over the delegation of who occupies Syrian land.”

Spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve

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