Syrian Kurdish leader detained in Prague at Turkey's request


Czech authorities detained a former leader of a Syrian Kurdish political party under an Interpol red notice that was based on Turkey's request for his arrest, Turkey's official news agency and a Kurdish official said Sunday.

A Kurdish official close to Muslim said the former PYD leader was in Prague attending a conference.

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. No further details were immediately released by Czech police.

Muslim is wanted by Turkey over a February 2016 bombing in Ankara that killed 29 people that the Turkish authorities blamed on the PKK.

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Turkey considers the PYD a "terrorist group" linked to outlawed Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey's own borders.

Muslim was the co-chair of the PYD party, the major component of the coalition that runs autonomous parts of north Syria.

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) militia - the military wing of the PYD - in the western enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.

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"We welcome the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council in response to the worsening humanitarian situation all across Syria, in particular in Eastern Ghouta", the foreign ministry said in a statement. Muslim is a Syrian citizen.

"Turkey, while continuing to extend humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people to relieve their suffering and support the efforts of the global community, particularly the United Nations, will at the same time maintain efforts to end the conflict that lies at the core of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and will remain resolute in fighting against the terrorist organizations that threaten the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria", he added.

Turkey has fiercely opposed the rising clout of the Kurds in northern Syria, saying the expansion of territories under their control to the east of Euphrates could pose serious security threats to the Turkish borders.

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