Saleh Muslim Muhammed
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 powerful member of the Kurdish opposition in the Syrian civil war.
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 90s.
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 PUK camp in Iraq in 2010 after he and his wife Ayşe Efendi were imprisoned in Syria, however returned to Qamishli in March 2011 following the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
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.