Salih Muslim, co-president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Dec 1 2013
Salih Muslim, co-president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Dec 1 2013 © Bertrand Langlois - AFP/File
Salih Muslim, co-president of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Dec 1 2013
AFP
Last updated: October 5, 2014

Syrian Kurdish leader holds secret talks in Turkey

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The leader of the main Syrian Kurdish political party is in Turkey for secret talks with intelligence officials as the battle rages with jihadists for the Syrian town of Kobane, Turkish media said Sunday.

The leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim held talks with officials from Turkey's intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), in Ankara on Saturday, the Hurriyet daily reported, quoting security sources.

The meeting came after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last week held talks with Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chairman of Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) who asked Ankara to help Kurds in the fight for Kobane.

According to Hurriyet, the Turkish officials encouraged Muslim's PYD to join forces with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which has been battling the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years pressed for the ousting of Assad and wants this to remain a clear goal amid the battle against the Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The PYD is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which waged a deadly insurgency in Turkey for the last three decades but has largely observed a ceasefire since 2013.

Turkey has previously shown little interest in developing links with the PYD because of its links with the PKK, which is regarded as a terrorist group by Ankara.

Muslim was told in Ankara the PYD should distance itself from the PKK and also clearly state its opposition to Assad's regime. But he was also offered the prospect of logistical support for the group's fight against jihadists, the reports said.

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