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Sep 08 2018

U.S. commander meets with YPG leader on Turkey’s most wanted list

A U.S. commander who is part of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria met with a prominent People’s Protection Units (YPG) figure who is on Turkey's most wanted list, Turkish pro-government Daily Sabah reported.

U.S. Gen. Paul Funk met with Ferhad Abdi Şahin, codenamed "Mazlum Kobani," the daily reported, citing the official account of the coalition, known as the Special Ops Joint Task Force-OIR, which published a photo of the meeting. 

Şahin is a senior figure in the YPG, which Ankara designates as terrorist organization through its affiliation to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over three decades.

Şahin, who is in the red category of the Interior Ministry's wanted list, is known for his close ties to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, Daily Sabah said, noting that he and was sent to Syria after civil war broke out in the country.

Turkey and the United States have been at odds over the YPG, which forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Washington says Turkey’s offensive against the YPG is undermining the fight against the remnants of ISIS.

Kobani is also the General Commander of SDF.