Turkey issues arrest warrant for Syrian Kurdish leader

Source: Al Jazeera

Turkey has issued arrest warrants for 48 Kurdish fighters, including the leader of a US-backed Syrian Kurdish group that is a key military force against ISIL.

Warrants were issued on Tuesday in connection with a suicide bomb attack in February in Ankara. The attack on a military bus near a main base killed 29 people and was claimed by a group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said those wanted include two alleged PKK leaders currently in exile in Europe, including Salih Muslim, leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD.

Muslim has repeatedly denied any “operational links” to the PKK.

He told Al Jazeera that his group had nothing to do with the February attack, or any others inside Turkey.

“It’s not true. We don’t have any relation with any organisation outside of Syria. It’s an internal matter for Turkey. It wasn’t related to Syria at all,” Muslim said on the phone from London.

His PYD’s armed wing is the YPG, or People’s Protection Units, which is the primary ground partner for the US-led coalition in its battle against ISIL in northern Syria.

Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkey-Syrian border, noted that Ankara has launched Operation Euphrates Shield – with troops inside northern Syira – in an effort to sweep Kurdish forces out of the region.

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