Mar 08 2018

Turkey's Afrin operation to end in May - Turkish FM

Turkey will end its military incursion into Syria's Afrin by the end of May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, according to Yeni Safak newspaper.

Cavusoglu spoke on the day Turkey is due to start talks with U.S. officials in Washington on Afrin, the military operation and U.S. support for Kurdish militants, which have frayed ties between the two NATO partners.

Cavusoglu also talked about the Democratic Union Party, or PYD's ex-leader and current spokesperson for its foreign affairs Salih Muslim, Cavusoglu said, "We received an information that Salih Muslim is in Stockhom [Sweden's capital]. We conveyed a demand for arrest [for Muslim] by a diplomatic nota to Sweden."

PYD, a dominant Kurdish political party that controls much of north-eastern Syria. Its military wing people's protection units (YPG) are fighting against the Turkish led forces in Afrin. 

Muslim was in Berlin over the weekend and gave a speech during pro-Kurdish demonstration. Salih travelled to Berlin after being released last week in Prague, where Czech authorities had detained him as he attended a conference there.

Turkish authorities, which consider the PYD to be a terrorist organisation and had placed Salih on their most wanted list, had requested his arrest and extradition first from Czechs, last week from Germany and now from Sweden. 

The apparent ease with which Salih is able to travel around Europe is unlikely to please Ankara.