Iranian Kurdish leader killed in Turkish drone strike in Syria's Qamishli

Iranian Kurdish leader killed in Turkish drone strike in Syria's Qamishli
Syrian Kurdish authorities said that a Turkish drone strike killed a senior leader of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) which seeks self-determination for Iran's Kurdish minority.
2 min read
11 August, 2022
Funerals were held in Qamishli for the four people killed in the Turkish drone strike [Getty]

A senior Iranian Kurdish commander has been killed in a Turkish drone strike in the Syrian city of Qamishli, according to a local official.

Youssef Mohammed Rabbani, a leader of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), was targeted by a Turkish drone that struck his car and killed at least four other people and wounded two on 6 August.

He was confirmed dead by local Kurdish authorities in Qamishli on Wednesday.

"Commander Youssef Mohammed Rabbani who was in Qamishil for a visit was confirmed dead amid the attack," Hamrin Ali, the co-president of the local council of the Jazira region in the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) said at a press conference.

"Rabbani was transferred to hospital immediately after the drone attack hit [his] vehicle along [with] several of his companions," Ali added, according to the Iraqi Kurdish Esta news site.

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"He died in the hospital," Ali said.

PJAK seeks self-determination for Iran's Kurdish minority and has waged an armed insurgency against the Iranian state.

It is closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and is designated as a terrorist group by Iran, Turkey, and the United States.

Turkey has recently been stepping up airstrikes in areas of Syria controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the associated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in preparation for a possible ground operation against Syrian Kurdish forces. Turkey says a new assault could begin "at any time".

Two weeks ago, four Syrian Kurdish security officers were killed in a Turkish strike in Raqqa province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the airstrike that killed Rabbani came about after cooperation between Turkish and Iranian intelligence.