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Turkey Requests Syrian Kurdish Leader's Extradition From Prague

01 March 2018

Turkey views him as a terrorist and had offered $1 million (£715,000) for his arrest.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that Turkish troops now hold a continuous strip of land on the edge of Afrin, opening a corridor that links territory in Aleppo province under the control of the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkey, with the rebel stronghold of Idlib province.

Turkey on Monday said it had formally asked for the extradition of one of the most prominent leaders of the Syrian Kurds, who was detained by Czech police at the weekend at Ankara's request.

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Muslim reportedly was on Turkey's most-wanted list.

Salih Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), was detained in Prague on February 24 upon Turkey's request and detention order.

The PKK is branded a terrorist group by the United States and European Union as well as by Turkey, but the YPG is Washington's main military ally in northeast Syria. Interpol would not comment Monday on whether Turkey had sought such a notice and was denied.

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On Monday, Turkish prosecutors issued a new warrant for his detention, accusing Muslim and about 30 other people of being behind a bomb attack on a tax office in Ankara earlier this month.

Muslim will be produced before a court, the officials said, adding Czech authorities would decide whether or not he would be remanded in custody.

The arrest comes as Turkey presses a military operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) - the military wing of the PYD - in the enclave of Afrin in northern Syria. PYD said Muslim was a key figure in the search for a political solution in Syria and appealed for his release, describing his arrest as "immoral".

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The PKK is proscribed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies but the U.S. has been working closely with the YPG against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria.

Turkey Requests Syrian Kurdish Leader's Extradition From Prague