First Published: 2018-02-25

Syrian Kurd leader arrested in Prague
Saleh Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, arrested in Czech capital on Turkish warrant.
Middle East Online

Saleh Muslim.

BEIRUT - One of the most prominent leaders of Syria's Kurdish community has been arrested in Prague on a Turkish warrant, Kurdish political parties said Sunday.

Saleh Muslim, the former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was arrested late on Saturday in the Czech capital, according to a statement by a coalition of political parties that includes the PYD.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported that Saleh was detained based on an Interpol red notice issued by Turkish authorities. It said he was due to appear in a Czech court and that the Turkish authorities would press for his extradition.

Muslim was among several prominent Kurdish officials indicted by Turkey over a February 2016 bombing in Ankara that killed 29 people.

He faces 30 life sentences if convicted. Ankara said the PYD and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), were responsible for the bombing, which targeted military vehicles.

Muslim features on a Turkish interior ministry wanted list, with a 4 million lira (860,000 euro) bounty for his arrest. He has denied any involvement in the attack.

Ankara considers the PYD and YPG as extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state and is classed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Ankara last month launched a military operation against the YPG militia in the enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.

Muslim was replaced as co-chair of the PYD last year, but remains a member of the diplomatic committee of the TEV-DEM political coalition that issued the statement on his arrest.

He was in Prague for a meeting supported by the United States and had been due to leave the city on Sunday, a Kurdish official said.


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