World Bulletin / News Desk
A Kurdish party that is extending its power in northern Syria as President Bashar al-Assad battles an insurgency raging elsewhere, warned Turkey not to interfere in the region where it fears rising PKK militancy along its border.
Turkey is alarmed at the growing influence of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and suspects it of links with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a 28-year separatist conflict in Turkey that has killed more than 40,000 people.
Turkey says it will not allow "terrorist" groups to gain a foothold across the border in Syria, where Kurds make up some 10 percent of the total population - part of an ethnic group of millions that also reaches into Iraq and Iran.
"Turkey has nothing to do with the Syrian Kurds," PYD leader Mohammed Saleh Muslim shot back, denying anything more than ideological affinity with the PKK.
"The protection of my people in my areas, in my town: that is my right, no-one can deny it, and that's what we did. So there is no need for Turkey to be worried and make threats," he told Reuters via telephone from the Syrian city of Qamishli.
Saleh Muslim said the Syrian towns of Kobani, Derik and Efrin were now under Kurdish control.
A 17-month-old uprising against Assad is seen by Syrian Kurds as an opportunity to win the power enjoyed by their ethnic kin in northern Iraq where they live semi-autonomously from Baghdad.
But Syria's Kurds are not politically united and rivalries between the PYD and another group, the Kurdish National Council (KNC), have at times threatened to spiral into intra-Kurdish conflict.
Last month, the two parties signed a pact to form a joint council, presenting a united front to work for Kurdish interests in a post-Assad Syria.
But that unity may be less strong in reality than on paper.
The PYD was notably absent at a meeting in Iraqi Kurdistan last week between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and the KNC, to discuss the future Syria and the need for a peaceful solution to Turkey's Kurdish question.
"We did not join it because they didn't invite us," Saleh Muslim told Reuters.
"Assad left Kurd towns"
Ankara has established closer ties with Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's Kurdish region, as it looks to expand business and energy stakes in northern Iraq - a rapprochement that analysts say could help Turkey gain leverage over Syria's Kurds.
"I think they (Turkey) are trying to marginalise the PYD in Syria by establishing good relations with the Kurdish National Council, which is very close to Masoud Barzani," said Jordi Tejel Gorgas, author of a book about Syrian Kurds.
Following the meeting in the Iraqi Kurd capital Arbil, the KNC's head of foreign relations, Abdul Hakim Bashar, described Davutoglu's position as "more advanced than before".
SNC President Abdulbaset Sieda, himself a Kurd, said it had not been Turkey's decision to leave the PYD out of the meeting and welcomed all parties committed to bringing down Assad.
"We hope from our brothers in the PYD that they will focus on the Syrian national project," Sieda told the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, reflecting doubts about the PYD's priorities.
Turkey's support for the SNC has made it the object of suspicion among many Syrian Kurds.
"The Syrian National Council continues to take one step forward and one step back and is taking orders from parties who will remain unnamed," Saleh Muslim said.
"The Syrian Kurds are part of the Syrian people and the solution to the issue will be in Damascus".
Rivals accuse the PYD of being more interested in pursuing its own agenda, or the PKK's, than overthrowing Assad, and even of being in league with him, noting that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was sheltered for years by Assad's late father, Hafez al-Assad.
Some credit Kurdish territorial gains to Bashar al-Assad, who they say willingly handed control over three towns to the PYD in order to intimidate Turkey.
Saleh Muslim said such accusations were nothing more than an attempt to sully the PYD's reputation.
A Palestinian child was killed and 25 people were injured in Israeli attacks in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Thousands of Pakistani riot police took up position to defend a key diplomatic and political enclave of the capital
'Shoot me now. Kill me now,' robbery suspect responded when officers ordered him to drop the knife
In a statement issued following an emergency meeting with aides, Hadi vowed to take "firm legal action" against the rallies
Rights activists in Saudi Arabia have complained that the government has also used its security crackdown to target peaceful dissidents, something the authorities deny.
The epidemic of the hemorrhagic disease has killed nearly 1,300 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and has also affected Nigeria.
The fighting in eastern Ukraine has taken a heavy human toll. The United Nations says an estimated 2,086 people, including civilians and combatants, have been killed in the four-month conflict.
Putin will be accompanied at the talks by Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko and Kazkahstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev. The EU team will be headed by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Navi Pillay urged U.S. authorities to investigate allegations of brutality and examine the "root causes" of racial discrimination in America.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press called the police intimidation of journalists in Ferguson "unwarranted" and "unthinkable."
The Syrians, including 20 children and 10 women, were stopped in the village of Oued Laâlemga near the Libyan border
India said it would not attend talks involving the foreign secretaries of the two countries, which had been set to take place on Aug. 25 in Islamabad
Among those arrested were 100 "high-level organizers and backbone members", state news agency Xinhua said
Baghdad is now trying to turn the tide after the Kurds said they had taken the dam, easing fears that the militants could cut off electricity and water supplies
Fifteen bodies have so far been recovered from the site of Monday's rocket strike on a refugee convoy of buses and cars in eastern Ukraine
After the unrest all male villagers over the age of about 12 were arrested apart from a few elderly men