Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the death of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) military leader Sufi Noureddine. Noureddine died during a Turkish armed forces intelligence operation in northern Iraq.
“Noureddine is one of the terrorists who ordered the execution of 13 innocent (kidnapped) victims, as part of the Turkish military’s Gara operation against the organization in northern Iraq,” Erdogan said in a speech, which followed a government meeting last February.
“Sufi Noureddine is responsible for attacks against Turkish soldiers in the areas covered by Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, in northern Syria,” the Turkish president added, referring to the northern and eastern Aleppo countryside.
Who is he?
Born in the northern Syrian city of Qamishli, Sufi Noureddine joined the PKK in the mid-1980s. In 1995, he took over as the group’s leader in Turkey’s southeastern Van region.
Noureddine is nicknamed “uncle” among his group’s militants.
In 2017, the Turkish Ministry of Interior published a 68-page report, which said that Noureddine led the Democratic Union Party (PYD) after its establishment in Syria in 2003. The PYD was established under instructions from PKK Chairman Abdullah Ocalan, with Noureddine taking over as Secretary-General.
Noureddine then became the party’s general coordinator in Turkey’s Diyarbakir region, before later being appointed to the leadership council for the party’s military wing until 2009. At that point, he became commander of the Central Armed Command.
Noureddine was the PKK’s leader in Syria between 2013 and 2015. He then went to Iraq, before returning to Syria in 2017.
For his part, writer and political activist Hoshink Osi said that Noureddine was the official commander of the PKK’s military wing. In reality, Osi said, “the true commander of the military wing is the Turkish-born PKK leader, Duran Kalkan.”
Speaking to Syria Net, Osi described Noureddine as “an important military commander on the ground.” Noureddine formed part of the leading military trio within the party, alongside Bahoz Erdal (a PKK military leader) and Mazloum Abdi (commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces).
Osi noted that, in recent times, there have been conflicting reports about Noureddine’s whereabouts. Reports said he could have been in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, or Iran.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.