Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has “neutralized” a senior military commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria’s northeastern region, the Anadolu Agency reported on November 6, citing Turkish security sources.
The sources told the state-run news agency that the commander, Kays Berho Sulayva, was targeted near the town of Ain Issa in the northern Raqqa countryside, without providing any further details.
The Anadolu Agency used the term “neutralized,” which official Turkish sources usually use to imply that the person in question was killed, wounded or captured.
While Turkish sources said that Sulayva was a PKK member, his only photo shows a badge of the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) on his vest. Ankara of course considers the YPG to be the Syrian wing of the PKK. The group is the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls much of northeastern Syria.
Sulayva, also known by his nom de guerre “Azad,” joined Kurdish guerilla fighters in 2013, and took part in operations against the Turkish military in Sinjar in northern Iraq and in Tell Tamer in northeastern Syria. He later worked as a heavy weapons officer in Syria’s al-Hasakah. In 2017, he was sent back to Tell Tamer-Ras al-Ain sector.
The MİT stepped up its operations against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq this year. The agency assassinated several key figures and abducted some others. It also coordinated drone strikes on fighters and commanders in cooperation with the Turkish military.
In northern Iraq, the Turkish intelligence operate with some support from the Kurdistan Region Government. However, in northeastern Syria their informants and agents are being hunted down by the SDF.
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