Kurds to declare federal state northern Syria despite challenges


People of Sere kaniye in Syria's Hasakah province bidding farewell to Kurdish YPG fighters killed in clashes with ISIS. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

RUMELAN – The local Kurdish administrations linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are planning to announce a local federal state, during the upcoming Kurdish new years celebrations on 21 March.

On Wednesday, 200 delegates from parties and organizations from Syria held a conference in the oil-rich town of Rumelan in Hasakah province to discuss the establishment of a federal political system in Kurdish areas of Syria, also known as Rojava.

The meeting, titled ‘federal Syria is a guarantee for a common life and brotherhood of nations’, included Kurdish, Arab, Christian and Armenian delegates.

Speaking to ARA News, Idris Nassan, a Kurdish official from the local administration in Kobane, said that federalism is one of the key demands of Kurds in Syria.

“Every step we are making is moving towards it, and it’s now time to declare it, and to have more components join it,” he said. “The SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] and the YPG [People’s Protection Units] could liberate much more of the north of Syria from ISIS, and they are looking to liberate the remaining areas.”

“Federalism will match the diversity of northern Syria, and guarantee democracy and equality for them all,” Nassan emphasized. 

Rodi Hesen, a media analyst for the monitoring website Insightkurdistan, told ARA News that announcing a federal system is an important step for Syria. “Syria could not be a centralized state anymore, the ongoing civil war ends the unity of Syria,” he said.

The exclusion of the Kurdish PYD party from the Geneva talks could be one of the main reasons that the Kurds accelerated the process of announcing a federal state in northern Syria.

“Moreover, neither the regime nor opposition have a positive position towards the Kurdish national rights, so it’s better to impose it in a de-facto style,” he stated. 

Bashar Ja’afari, Syria’s U.N. ambassador, on Wednesday condemned federalism. “Kurds are an important component of the Syrian people… So betting on creating any kind of divisions among the Syrians will be a total failure,” he said.

However, Hesen thinks that US and Russia might back federalism in Syria. “This system would not face rejection from both Russia and USA,” he told ARA News.

“Recently, Russia and USA have been discussing possibilities of federalism scenario in Syria. I do not think that federalism will be announced formally before the YPG expels ISIS from other predominately Kurdish areas such as Azaz, Jarablus and Al-Bab north of Aleppo province.”

US officials said they will not recognize a semi-autonomous Kurdish region, but will not be against federalism if the Syrians want it. 

“We have not and will not recognize any self-rule, semi-autonomous zone. We remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Syria,” U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

Syrian Kurds plan to combine the three Kurdish-led autonomous areas of northern Syria into a federal system, a step that may raise Turkey’s ire, which fears the establishment of a Kurdish entity in Syria would sparking its own Kurdish population.

Speaking to ARA News in Rumelan, Ahmed Araj, spokesman of the Syrian Democratic Alliance (SDA), said that there is an international effort sponsored by Russia and the U.S. to stop violence in Syria, and start implementing concrete steps for a peaceful solution to preserve the unity of the country.

“The geographic distribution of the military forces in Syria indicates that the country has been actually divided up on the ground. The federal system is the best solution for the future of Syria to guarantee the rights of its social components,” Araj said. 

“We, at the SDA [major Arab political bloc in Rojava], adopt the principle of political decentralization. We have approved this in the first conference of Derik when the Syrian Democratic Council was founded; we believe decentralization and the federal system is one of the best formulas for solution in Syria,” he stressed. 

Reporting by: Siman Jiwan, Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Ahmed Shiwesh  

Source: ARA News 

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