Turkey formally requests extradition of former PYD leader

01 March, 2018, 12:31 | Author: Jason Torres
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Salih Muslim is a former co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria.

Czech police confirmed a 67-year-old foreigner was being held after being detained based on a Turkish Interpol notice.

Turkey has officially requested the extradition of former Syrian Kurdish PYD leader Saleh Muslim from the Czech Republic, Ankara's government spokesman said on Monday, after authorities arrested Muslim in Prague a day earlier.

The Turkish interior ministry had offered a bounty of almost $1m on Muslim, who is listed as one of the "most wanted terrorists" in Turkey.

About 600 Kurdish and Arab members of the Free Syrian Army's "Kurdish Falcons Brigade", also known as "red berets", will be deployed starting Monday, said brigade commander Hassan Abdullah Kulli, cited by Turkish news agency Anadolu. Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"The justice ministry has completed its preparations (for extradition) and this file has been sent to the Czech judicial authorities as of yesterday", Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.

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Muslim was detained in Prague on February 24 on a warrant from Ankara.

Muslum was expected to appear before a court in Prague on Monday, which would decide if he will remain in detention; however, his court hearing was postponed.

Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Syria's northwestern Afrin region.

"[It] should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the ongoing spiral of violence that could lead to a regional explosion and push away any hope of a political solution", the Élysée said.

The air and ground offensive is created to drive back the Kurdish YPG, which Ankara sees as inextricably linked to the Kurdish PKK, which it views as a terrorist group.

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