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Turkey seeks extradition of Syrian Kurdish leader from Prague

01 March 2018

Czech authorities arrested Muslim in Prague on Saturday.

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 has submitted documents to the Czech authorities formally requesting the extradition of the former leader of a Syrian Kurdish party, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday.

However Czech foreign minister Martin Stropnicky denied there was any link between the arrest of Muslim and the jailing in Turkey of two Czech nationals on charges of fighting for the YPG in Syria. New "red notices" were issued on February 13, with officials offering just over $1 million for his return.

The air and ground offensive is created to drive back the Kurdish YPG, which Ankara sees as inextricably linked to the Kurdish PKK, which it views as a terrorist group.

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Muslim was detained in Prague on February 24 on a warrant from Ankara.

Nine people were detained in connection with the attack, which caused damage to the tax office but no casualties.

Muslum was expected to appear before a court in Prague on Monday, which would decide if he will remain in detention; however, his court hearing was postponed. 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".

Tensions between Turkey and Kurdish groups have escalated sharply in recent weeks, following Ankara's launch of a military offensive last month in Syria's Afrin region against the Kurdish YPG, an armed associate of the PYD, which it has considered a border threat.

Turkey seeks extradition of Syrian Kurdish leader from Prague