The niece of the former head of the PYD – a Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization – who surrendered last week following efforts made by security forces, appeared in court on Monday before being released on bail.
Dalya Mahmut Muslum, 21, a relative of former group leader Salih Muslum and the personal bodyguard of Gülten Alataş, a PKK terrorist sought with a red notice, was transferred to a hospital in Mersin province for health checks under broad security measures after her court appearance.
Muslum is reportedly pregnant and surrendered together with her husband. The development brings the total number of PKK terrorists who have laid down their arms this year to 110.
Muslum has reportedly delivered information to security forces regarding PKK’s connections in Europe, its extensions and the latest developments in the group's camps.
She has also informed authorities that the United States and France have provided drone training to PKK terrorists in camps in Syria.
After joining the group, she said that she was first kept in the "youth camp" in the eastern Syrian province of Qamishli.
She stayed here for seven months, witnessing multiple meetings between several PKK heads, including Murat Karayılan, Cemil Bayık and Duran Kalkan, before moving to the headquarters of the PKK's armed women's wing, YJA-Star, Muslum said, noting that PKK leaders frequently met at this base using Turkish in all their meetings and notes.
She also reported that there were ideological disagreements and conflicts between those who joined the terrorist group from Turkey and Syria.
Informing authorities that YPG units located near the Turkish border were routinely inspected by the terrorist group's women's wing, Muslum said that the PKK was forcibly collecting a TL 100 ($14.60) "tax" from every household in the area. She added that one child from each household had been forced to join the group.
The PKK's use of child soldiers has been repeatedly documented and criticized by international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW). The group reportedly tricks families into giving up their young sons and daughters or outright kidnaps them, taking them to training camps where they are denied contact with their families.
Salih Muslum joined a Syrian offshoot of the PKK, the PYD, in 2003 and served as its co-chair between 2010 and 2017. The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the U.S., the European Union and NATO. The YPG and PYD are its Syrian branches.
Turkey issued arrest warrants and subsequent red notices for Muslum and 47 other high-ranking PKK figures in November 2016, while a new red notice was issued for Muslum on Feb. 13 after his inclusion on a list of most-wanted terrorists with a bounty of TL 4 million ($583,000) on his head.
A significant number of suspected terrorists have started fleeing the PKK and surrendering while many terrorists lack the courage to leave the group because they would face severe punishment if caught. More than 235 members surrendered to Turkish security forces in 2019. Once they surrender, former recruits are provided with many rights and opportunities, including in the realm of education.
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