Omar Souleyman walks free in Turkey

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  • The Syrian singer returned home today, according to his lawyer.
  • Omar Souleyman walks free in Turkey image
  • Omar Almasikh, AKA Omar Souleyman, has been freed by the Turkish authorities, The New Arab reports. The world-renowned Syrian singer returned to his home today, November 19th, in the Turkish city of Urfa (AKA Sanliurfa), according to his lawyer, Resit Tuna. "Omar Souleyman was released at 10 AM (0700 GMT)," Tuna told Agence France-Presse. Tuna added that Almasikh was detained for 24 hours in custody before being transferred yesterday, November 18th, to a shelter serving as a detention centre for people due to be deported. He was later released. Almasikh, who sings in both Arabic and Kurdish, was arrested by officials on Wednesday, November 17th, reportedly due to suspected links to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (AKA PKK) and its Syrian faction, the YPG. The PKK is considered a terrorist group in Turkey. Following Almasikh's arrest, his manager told Agence France-Press that Almasikh was detained following reports that he recently visited YPG-controlled territory in neighbouring Syria. His manager denies the allegation that Almasikh belongs to any militant group, Reuters reports. Almasikh's arrest points to an ongoing trend in Turkey, where thousands of residents have recently been held on terrorism charges. This is part of a crackdown led by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a failed coup attempt in 2016. Musically, Almasikh's blend of traditional dabke with electronic beats earned him fans all over the world, as well as collaborations with Björk, Four Tet and Damon Albarn. He has lived in Turkey since the onset of the Syrian civil war, running, among other things, a free bakery in Urfa. Rewatch our 2015 film with Almasikh.