Saleh Muslim, a leader of Syria’s Kurds, was arrested on Sunday in Prague on Sunday after Turkey issued a warrant for his arrest.
Muslim is the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, a political faction that Turkey says has direct links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey’s own outlawed Kurdish independence party that has fought a low-intensity guerrilla war with Ankara for nearly 40 years.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by several states and organisations, including NATO, the US, and the European Union.
Turkey had a $1 million bounty on Muslim. He is linked to a bombing attack in Ankara that killed 37 people. He is wanted on charges of homicide, damaging public property, trafficking dangerous substances, and threatening national security.
According to the pro-Turkish government news outlet Daily Sabah, Muslim was in Brussels on the February 19 for a conference in which he presented pictures of alleged atrocities committed during Erdogan’s ongoing operation against the Kurds in Syria’s northern Afrin region.
The Turkish Army invaded Afrin region in an attempt to capture Kurdish-held areas. The 50,000-strong, battled-hardened People’s Protection Units, or YPG, is Washington’s key military ally in Syria. The US continues to train and supply YPG forces with assault rifles, as well as sophisticated anti-tank, and anti-air systems.
Ankara’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Sunday told the government-linked propaganda network Anadolu Agency that military operations in Afrin would not be affected by a recent UN Security Council Resolution seeking a ceasefire in Syria.