Czech, Turkey in spat as Syrian Kurd leader released


The Turkish police and gendarmerie special forces entered the Afrin region to prepare for urban warfare, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Monday.

Saleh Muslim formerly headed the PYD, the major component of a coalition that governs Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria and deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey. But his lawyer said that the Syrian Kurdish leader had vowed to cooperate with extradition proceedings.

The operation in Afrin - bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces - was widely expected in the wake of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which cleared Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border between August 24, 2016, and March 2017.

The Turkish government said Tuesday, February 27 the release of the former leader of a Syrian Kurdish political party by a Czech court was "a clear support for terror", the Voice of America reports.

A Prague court earlier ruled to release Muslim after his arrest at Turkey's request over the weekend.

The government "strictly refuses any claims that today's decision by an independent court would be in breach of the Czech Republic's obligations in the fight against worldwide terrorism".

Turkey says they will follow Muslim "wherever he goes".

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Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis declined Tuesday to comment on the case insisting that "it's a Czech court that decides, I do not know this case, I cannot express myself".

"Turkey is more than welcome to go back and read the exact text of this UN Security Council resolution, and I would suggest that they do so", she said.

"Unfortunately, the Czech court has taken a decision opposite to our bilateral and allied relationship".

Footage from Turkey's military operation in Afrin has shown a number of these attack helicopters targeting Kurdish militants.

Ankara has said the United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria does not apply to its five-week-old military operation in Afrin against the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey says is a terrorist group.

Miroslav Farkas and Marketa Vselichova were arrested in 2016 and sentenced to six years in prison for alleged links to the People's Protection Units (YPG), the PYD's armed wing.