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Mazloum Kobani Abdi
Mazloum Abdi in October 2019
Native name Kurdish language: Mezlûm Ebdî
Arabic language: مظلوم عبدي
Birth name Ferhat Abdi Şahin
Born c. 1967 (aged 51–52)
Place of birth Kobanî, Syria

PKK (1990–2012)[1][2]

SDF (2015–present)
Years of service 2015–present
Rank General Commander

Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Syrian Civil War

Ferhat Abdi Şahin (born c. 1967), better known by his nom de guerre Mazloum Kobani Abdi[lower-alpha 1][5][6] (Kurdish language: Mezlûm Ebdî[7] – Arabic language: مظلوم عبدي[8]) and his previous nom de guerre Şahin Cilo[9] is a Syrian Kurdish military leader, serving as the commander-in-chief[lower-alpha 2] of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).[13][14]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Abdi was born as "Ferhat Abdi Şahin" to Syrian Kurdish parents at Kobanî[4][15] around 1967. Trained as a civil engineer at the University of Aleppo,[6] Abdi joined Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) within Syria in 1990 and was imprisoned five times by the Syrian authorities.[2][4][6] While serving with the PKK in Syria, he became a personal friend of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.[6] Abdi later conducted militant activities in rural areas of Şemdinli, Turkey in 1996.[2] He left to Europe in 1997 where he was engaged in political work until 2003, when he travelled to Iraq where he was involved in military work.[2][12] He served as member of the PKK high command in 2005.[15][lower-alpha 3] Abdi became a member of the People's Defense Forces' (HPG) special operations board from 2009 until 2011/12,[2][15] when he was sent to Syria by the PKK in order to organise the YPG's activities in Kurdish populated regions of Syria amid the then escalating Syrian Civil War.[15] In August 2014 he was in charge of the negotiations the People's Protection Units (YPG) held in Sulaymaniya with Iran and the United States in order to form an effective alliance against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after which an alliance with the US was agreed to.[4] As the commander of the SDF, Abdi commands 70,000 troops.[18] Abdi has stated that he is open to work with the Syrian government within a federal system that includes the existing de facto autonomous region of Rojava.[19] On 29 June 2019 Abdi, as representative of the SDF, signed the action plan of the United Nations aiming to prevent the enlistment of child soldiers in the armed forces.[20] In the wake of the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, Abdi has stated his willingness to work with the Syrian regime and Russia and to make painful compromises with them in order to protect the local population of northeastern Syria from potential "genocide" by "Turkey and its jihadi mercenaries".[21] As part of a deal with the SDF, Syrian government troops have been given permission to enter the cities of Manbij and Kobanî in the hopes of deterring further Turkish aggression.[22]

In October 2019, a group of US Senators suggested that the US State Department give Abdi a visa so that he would be able to discuss Syria in the United States. In response, the Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül criticized the US government for treating Abdi as a "legitimate political figure" and indicated that an extradition request had been issued so that if Abdi would enter US territory, he should be detained to be extradited to Turkey.[3] As ninth upon the Turkish government's most-wanted terrorist list, Abdi has a 9 million lira reward offered by Turkey for help in his capture.[23][24][25] Abdi's increasing regional and international prominence has led to tensions between the YPG and PKK, as the latter frowns upon "personal popularity". Accordingly, the PKK leadership is wary of Abdi's "success and flourishing reputation" as well as his close connections to the United States.[15]

On October 9, 2019,[26] US president Donald Trump wrote a note to Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, enclosing a note from Abdi, Trump's offering to mediate between Turkey and the YPG, saying Abdi was "willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past" and enclosing a note from Abdi. During Erdoğan's November 14 state visit to the US, he returned one or another to Trump[27] and presented Trump CIA documentation with regard to PKK terrorists subject to arrest under US law,[17][28] its also thus describing Abdi, Erdoğan's saying, "I presented the letter to Mr. President and especially felt sorrow that a US president took a terrorist called Ferhat Abdi Sahin as an addressee."[29][30] "The CIA also documented him as a terrorist and they sent us these documents, and then we presented them to Mr. President today. We also returned the letter likewise."[31]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Additional transliterations include Mazlum,[3] Kobanê,[4] and Abdî
  2. In Kurmanji, Abdi's rank is 'fermandarê giştî',[10] which literally translates as 'general commander'. English sources refer to him by multiple ranks, including 'commander-in-chief',[11] 'general',[4] or 'commander'.[12]
  3. For alleged terrorism committed in Turkey by the PKK during this period, as of 2019, Interpol has issued a red notice on Turkey's behalf.[16][17]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Mazlum Kobani kimdir?" (in tr). 2019-10-25. https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-50179867. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Acun, Keskin; Bünyamin, Can (2017). "THE PKK’S BRANCH IN NORTHERN SYRIA PYD-YPG" (in tr). SETA. https://setav.org/en/assets/uploads/2017/05/PYD_YPG_En.pdf. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Reuters (October 25, 2019). "Turkey Says U.S. Must Extradite Syrian Kurdish Commander". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/10/25/world/middleeast/25reuters-syria-security-turkey.html. Retrieved October 25, 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Wright, Robin (2019-04-04). "How Trump Betrayed the General Who Defeated ISIS" (in en). ISSN 0028-792X. https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/how-trump-betrayed-the-general-who-defeated-isis. 
  5. "Commander Of Syrian Democratic Forces Reacts To Trump Pulling Troops From Border". https://www.npr.org/2019/10/08/768214498/u-s-officials-concerned-by-trumps-call-to-pull-troops-from-syrian-border. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Wright, Robin (20 October 2019). "America's Ally in Syria Warns of Ethnic Cleansing by Turkey". New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/americas-ally-in-syria-warns-of-ethnic-cleansing-by-turkey. 
  7. Wilgenburg, Wladimir van (3 May 2019). "Syrian Kurdish leader reveals indirect negotiations with Turkey" (in en). Kurdistan24. https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/94818eed-413d-4e6c-934e-8d371c554496. Retrieved 28 August 2019. 
  8. https://twitter.com/MazloumAbdi
  9. Chulov, Martin; Hawramy, Fazel (1 May 2017). "Ever-closer ties between US and Kurds stoke Turkish border tensions | Martin Chulov and Fazel Hawramy". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/01/tensions-rise-along-the-turkey-syria-border-pkk-ypg-erdogan. Retrieved 22 July 2019. 
  10. "Ebdî: Em ê hêzeke leşkerî ava bikin ya ku wê bibe garantiya Sûriyeyê" (in ku). ANF News. 24 August 2019. https://anfkurdi.com/rojava-sUriye/ebdi-em-e-hezeke-leskeri-ava-bikin-ya-ku-we-bibe-garantiya-suriy-117382. Retrieved 28 August 2019. 
  11. Said, Rodi (13 December 2018). "Exclusive: U.S.-backed SDF vows to fight any Turkish attack in north Syria". In Francis, Ellen; Perry, Tom; Chopra, Toby. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-sdf-exclu-idUSKBN1OC2W9. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hubbard, Ben; Schmitt, Eric (2019-05-12). "They Were 'Comrades in Arms' Against ISIS. Now the U.S. Is Eyeing the Exit." (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/12/world/middleeast/syria-sdf-us-islamic-state.html. 
  13. Williams, Holly (October 2018). "What remains to be done in the final phase of America's war on ISIS". CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc.. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-remains-to-be-done-in-the-final-phase-of-america-war-on-isis-60-minutes/. 
  14. Smith, Hannah Lucinda (2019-10-24). "Senators call on Trump to invite Kurdish general Mazloum Kobani to Washington". https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/senators-call-on-trump-to-invite-kurdish-general-mazloum-kobani-to-washington-fc8zvw6l6. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Metin Gurcan (7 November 2019). "Is the PKK worried by the YPG's growing popularity?". al-Monitor. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/turkey-syria-pkk-worried-by-growing-popularity-of-ypg-kurds.html. Retrieved 7 November 2019. 
  16. "Mazlum Kobani için tutuklama ve iade talebi". https://www.haberturk.com/son-dakika-abdulhamit-gul-mazlum-kobani-nin-tutuklanmasi-ve-iadesi-istendi-2534396. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Fahrettin Altun (November 12, 2019). "Washington should not be hosting a terrorist". Washington Examiner. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/washington-should-not-be-hosting-a-terrorist. 
  18. Abdi, Mazloum. "If We Have to Choose Between Compromise and Genocide, We Will Choose Our People" (in en-US). https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/13/kurds-assad-syria-russia-putin-turkey-genocide/. 
  19. Rand, Alex (6 November 2017). "From Kobane to Raqqa". Middle East Studies Center. The Ohio State University. https://mesc.osu.edu/blog/kobane-raqqa. 
  20. "SDF signs UN plan to end use of children in Syrian conflict" (in en-US). 2019-07-02. https://thedefensepost.com/2019/07/02/syria-sdf-child-soldiers-un-action-plan/. 
  21. Abdi, Mazloum. "If We Have to Choose Between Compromise and Genocide, We Will Choose Our People" (in en-US). https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/13/kurds-assad-syria-russia-putin-turkey-genocide/. 
  22. "Report: Syrian army to enter SDF-held Kobani, Manbij" (in en). Reuters. 13 October 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-towns-report-idUSKBN1WS0K0. 
  23. http://www.terorarananlar.pol.tr/detaylar/Sayfalar/kirmizitamliste.aspx
  24. "Terör listesinde 'renk' dönemi". https://www.ntv.com.tr/turkiye/teror-listesinde-renk-donemi,O91JS62rWUeSMTE5hGx1Sw. 
  25. "Son dakika: ABD'li komutanın yanındaki isim bakın kim çıktı! - Son Dakika Haberler". http://www.milliyet.com.tr/gundem/abdli-komutanin-yanindaki-isim-bakin-kim-cikti-2439488. 
  26. "Trump warned Erdogan in letter: 'Don't be a tough guy' or 'a fool'". October 17, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-trump-erdogan-idUSKBN1WV2PM. 
  27. Cummings, William. "Return to sender: Turkish President Erdogan says he gave back Trump's 'don't be a tough guy' letter". https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/11/14/erdogan-returns-trump-tough-guy-letter/4188895002/. 
  28. Daniel R. Coats (January 29, 2019). "Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community". US Director of National Intelligence. https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/2019-ATA-SFR---SSCI.pdf. 
  29. "Turkey, US have friendly talks but differences remain - Turkey News". http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-have-friendly-talks-but-differences-remain-148669. 
  30. Cook, Steven a. "OPINION | Why Does Trump Keep Pardoning Turkey?". https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2019/11/28/trumppardon-turkey-073704. 
  31. "English :: Erdoğan Says He Returned Trump's Threatening Letter". http://bianet.org/english/print/215789-erdogan-says-he-returned-trump-s-threatening-letter. 

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