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Turkey's Erdogan calls on U.S. to hand over top Kurdish commander

Turkey's Erdogan calls on U.S. to hand over top Kurdish commander
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Friday, 25 October, 2019, 12:40

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told state TV on Thursday that the U.S. should hand over Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobani Abdi, calling him a "wanted terrorist" with an Interpol red notice.

Why it matters: Abdi led the primarily Kurdish SDF in the U.S.-backed fight against ISIS, where more than 10,000 of his fighters were killed. Erdogan views the Kurds who fight with the SDF as an extension of the PKK, a terrorist organization that has sought to gain Kurdish autonomy inside Turkey for decades. On Thursday, President Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Abdi and that the Kurdish leader "appreciates what we have done," despite criticism that the U.S. exit from northern Syria cleared the way for Turkey to attack the Kurds.