Turkey issues warrant for arrest of Kurdish leader in Syria
A Turkish court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a prominent Kurdish leader in Syria over an allegation of involvement in a deadly bombing in Ankara in February.
Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday that Salih Muslim, the leader of the Democratic Union Party, also known as the PYD, was wanted by prosecutors over his suspected role in the February 17 bomb attack targeting Turkish military vehicles.
Nearly 30 people were killed in the bombing, which Ankara blamed on the PYD’s military wing, the People’s Protection Units, also known as the YPG. The group is also accused of carrying out another attack in the Turkish capital in March.
Another Kurdish militant group operating mostly in southeastern Turkey under the title of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed responsibility for the February attack. TAK, which is a splinter of the PKK, said at the time that the attack was in response to Turkey’s massive crackdown on Kurds in the southeast.
Anadolu said warrants were also issued for the arrest of several fugitive leaders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including Cemil Bayik, Murat Karayilan and Fehman Huseyin. The three are believed to be hiding in northern Iraq.
Turkey began a security operation in the southeast last year after a two-year ceasefire between the government and the PKK was declared null. Ankara later expanded the offensive to areas in northern Iraq, where the PKK’s main cells are believed to be based.
Ankara recently claimed Kurds fighting in northeastern Syria against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists are also an offshoot of the PKK. The United States and other Western governments that support the PYD and YPG have rejected the claim, urging Ankara to stop targeting Syrian Kurds.