Europe

Turkey seeks arrest of Syrian Kurdish political leader

PYD leader Salih Muslim addresses reporters at the European Parliament in Brussels. Photo: September 2016 Image copyright AP
Image caption Salih Muslim's PYD is affiliated with YPG Kurdish fighters, who battle Islamic State militants in Syria

Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for a Syrian Kurdish leader over a deadly bombing in Ankara.

The warrant named Salih Muslim of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and nearly 50 other people.

The PYD is affiliated with YPG Kurdish militias, who are backed by the US in the fight against jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Turkey has blamed the PYD and the YPG for the bombing of a military convoy in Ankara in which 28 people died.

Both groups have rejected claims that they had any involvement in the February attack.

The US has also cast doubt on the Turkish allegation, and a dispute over the two groups' role in Syria has strained relations between Washington and Ankara.

Turkey has long insisted that Syrian Kurdish militants are an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has carried out an insurgency in the south-east of Turkey for decades.

The Syrian Kurds reject the claim.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks has claimed responsibility for the bombing in Ankara

A Turkey-based Kurdish militant group - the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) - has said it carried out the 17 February attack.

The TAK was once linked with the PKK. The two groups are classified as terrorist organisations by Turkey and the US.

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