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Kurdish leader's rising profile with US, Russia angers Turkey

The Turkish government has kicked off a campaign to demonize Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazlum Kobane after the latter's recent conversations with the US president and top Russian officials.

When Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Oct. 9, Ankara’s main concern was about branding the operation a “war on terror.” The YPG is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States, along with many Western powers. Turkey said that these terror organizations should be “cleansed” from the Turkish border and that the operation wasn’t targeting the Kurdish people. The other oft-repeated goal was to send some 2 million Syrian refugees to the proposed safe zone. 

However, two weeks later, following two separate deals Turkey reached with the United States and Russia most of the public focus had shifted from those two goals to another one: extraditing Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) commander Mazlum Kobane to Turkey. How did the commander end up in the center of this row?

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