PYD leader Muslim denied US visa again
Cansu Çamlıbel - WASHINGTONThe leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), whose military wing is planning an operation to capture Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with the support of the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition, has been denied a visa to the United States, following a similar decision in 2015.
The visa application by Salih Muslim was rejected two months ago, forcing him to attend a conference organized on May 25 in Washington via teleconference.
The rejection came despite Washington’s continuous support for the PYD’s military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Despite the objections of Ankara, which considers the PYD and YPG as organic extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and hence terrorists groups, U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month authorized the Pentagon to provide the YPG with heavy weapons and armored vehicles.
Speaking after last week’s meeting with Trump in Washington, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he told Trump that Turkey would retaliate against any possible attacks from the PYD or YPG within the rules of engagement, recalling that Turkey had already hit the group in Syria’s al-Rai, Jarablus and al-Bab within the scope of the Euphrates Shield operation.
Speaking via teleconference at May 25’s conference, Muslim said the decision to give weapons to the YPG was a “very important step,” noting his expectation that the relationship with the U.S. would “widen into the political field, as well as the diplomatic field.”
“The struggle will not end when Raqqa and Mosul are captured, ISIL will not be finished,” Muslim said. “We can be ready for the long war awaiting us only with a permanent coalition. The only project to save and protect Syria is our democratic federalism project.”
When Muslim was asked by an audience member why he was not in the U.S., he said he was told two months ago that his visa application had been rejected.
“We are just waiting for a strong man to invite me directly,” the PYD leader said. “So it’s a difficult situation.”
Muslim’s visa application on 2015 was also rejected during the Barack Obama administration.