Salih Muslim Muhammad

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Salih Muslim Muhammad
Saleh Muslim.jpg
Salih Muslim in December 2012
Chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)
Assumed office
Serving with Asya Abdullah (since 2012)
Personal details
Born 1951[1]
Kobanî, Aleppo Governorate, Syria
Political party Democratic Union Party (PYD) (2003–present)
Other political
Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (1998–2003)
Spouse(s) Ayşe Efendi
Children Five (one deceased)
Alma mater Istanbul Technical University (1977)
Occupation Chemical engineer
Profession Politician
Religion Sunni Islam

Salih Muslim Muhammad (born 1951) is co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the driving power behind the de facto autonomous Kurdish-controlled region of Rojava in Northern Syria. As the deputy coordinator of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, he is also the most prominent member of the Kurdish opposition in the Syrian Civil War.[2]

Muslim first became involved with the Kurdish movement during the 1970s when he was studying engineering at Istanbul Technical University after becoming influenced by Mustafa Barzani's ongoing fight against the Iraqi government, the failure of which spurred him into becoming more active. Following university he worked as an engineer in Saudi Arabia before returning to Syria in the 1990s.

2013 VOA report about the PYD, including an interview with Salih Muslim

In 1998, he joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S), the Syrian branch of the Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP). He later left in 2003 after becoming disillusioned by the party's failure to accomplish its objectives and joined the newly formed Democratic Union Party, or PYD, becoming a member of its executive council, and was elected as party head in 2010. He fled to a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) camp in Iraq in 2010 after he and his wife Ayşe Efendi were imprisoned in Syria, and returned to Qamishli in March 2011 following the beginning of the Syrian Civil War.[3]

During an interview with BBC News reporter Orla Guerin in August 2012, Muslim denied "operational links" to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). He also added that he had frequently been imprisoned since 2003 by Bashar Assad's government.[4]

On 9 October 2013, Salih Muslim's son Shervan, a fighter in the People's Protection Units, was killed west of Tell Abyad during clashes with rebels linked to al-Qaida. He was buried in the family's hometown of Kobanê in a public funeral which thousands of people attended.[5]

Salih Muslim Muhammad has said in an interview that "one day those Arabs who have been brought to the Kurdish areas will have to be expelled."[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "More Kurdish Cities Liberated As Syrian Army Withdraws from Area". Rudaw. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  3. ^ "Saleh Muslim Mohammed". Carnegie Middle East Center. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  4. ^ "Crisis in Syria boosts Kurdish hopes". BBC World News. 
  5. ^ "Thousands bid farewell to Sherzan Muslim". Firat News. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  6. ^