Syrian Kurds to announce federal system 16 March 2016

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Aldar Khalil (C), leader of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM), preparing the announcement of a federal state for northern Syria, Rmeilan, Syrian Kurdistan, March 16, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)
Tag : Syrian Kurdistan Rojava Federalism PYD Aldar Khalil Salih Muslim Russia Damascus Riad Hijab cantons

RMEILAN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – Officials of the Autonomous Administration of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) are holding a conference where they will announce a federal system in the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern and northeast Syria, a Kurdish official told Kurdistan24 on Wednesday.

Speaking to Kurdistan24, Aldar Khalil, head of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM), said that the purpose of this conference is to announce the news that the Autonomous Administration believes that federalism is the best solution for halting the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Officials in the assembly confirmed that people of northern Syria are taking matters into their hands after being excluded so far from political talks to resolve the Syrian war.

The announcement would mean „widening the framework of self-administration which the Kurds and others have formed,“ said Idris Nassan, an official in the Foreign Affairs Directorate of Kobani, one of three autonomous cantons, or areas set up by Kurdish groups two years ago. Nassan told Reuters the areas would be renamed the Federation of Northern Syria, and represent all ethnic groups living there.

Co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which exercises wide influence and control over Syrian Kurdish areas, has made clear the group remains open to the idea. „What you call it isn’t important,“ PYD’s Saleh Muslim told Reuters on Tuesday. „We have said [repeatedly] that we want a decentralized Syria—call it administrations, call it federalism—everything is possible.“

It is worth noting that both the Syrian government and Syrian opposition have rejected the idea of federalism.

Syrian opposition coordinator Riad Hijab told Reuters on Thursday, „Any mention of this federalism or something which might present a direction for dividing Syria is not acceptable at all.”

“We have agreed that we will expand a non-central government in a future Syria, but not federalism or division,“ affirmed Hijab.

Additionally, Syria’s government in Damascus on Saturday ruled out the idea of a federal model for the country. However, Damascus ally Russia has said federalism could be a possible model for Syria, according to Reuters.

The Syrian Kurdish PYD party has been left out of the current peace talks in Geneva in line with the wishes of Turkey, which sees it as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Reporting by Hisham Arafat

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Benjamin Kweskin

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