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Kurdish National Council announces plan for setting up ‘Syrian Kurdistan Region’

QAMISHLI – The Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC), backed by the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, has developed a new proposal to establish a ‘Syrian Kurdistan Region’, attempting to convince the Syrian opposition about the project.


The proposal seems to be inspired by the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, led by Barzani, that has been autonomous since the 1990s. Barzani is the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and heavily backs the KNC.


The project is very different from the federal system announced by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its allies in March 2016, which is based on the ideology of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).


From July 5 to July 8, 2016, the Geneva Office of the Kurdish National Council in Syria organised the workshop under the banner “Visions for a future Syria– Federalism and the Kurdish region” in Geneva, and adopted a new paper proposing a decentralized federal system with local structures.


“Moreover, the KNC prepared, together with Prof. Dr. Eva Maria Belser and Dr. Soeren Keil a constitutional draft for a future federal Region of Syrian Kurdistan,” the KNC said in a statement.


The KNC says the constitution will be the foundation for discussions with the Arab factions of the Syrian opposition and other Kurdish groups.


“The KNC does not intend to unilaterally implement its constitution in Syria – but it wants to discuss its project with other political factions as well as the population of Syrian Kurdistan,” the KNC stated.


The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and it’s allies also made their preparations for setting up a federal system in northern Syria and Rojava in March. However, unlike the KNC, the PYD is the de-facto authority on the ground, and it did not discuss its project with the Arab opposition.


The PYD and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) control large parts of northern Syria, and set up three canton administrations that in the future will be united into one, after holding elections.


Speaking to ARA News, Diyar Qamislo, a member of the PYD-linked Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM), said that the idea of the PYD and it’s allies is different. “In the future, we even maybe remove the name Rojava, and just keep northern Syria. Our project is not based on nationalist thinking,” he said.


“Our region has many ethnic groups such as Kurds, Arabic, Assyrians and others, and the formal languages in the region include Arabic, Syriac and Kurdish,” he said. “We consider a Kurdish federal system for only Kurds as wrong, this is far from the reality of Rojava.”


Recently, Riza Altun, the head of foreign relations of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) criticized the announcing of federalism in March before finishing the ground work.


“We also criticized them for announcing it prior to the completion of a proper groundwork for its announcement, which gave the impression that it was being imposed as a fait accompli, and that is harmful,” Altun told as-Safir newspaper.


“We prefer the use of North Syria Federation and call for the removal of Rojava from the name because Rojava denotes a federation of Kurdish identity. North Syria is home to all of its constituents, and the freedom of Kurds there is contingent upon the degree of liberty enjoyed by other inhabitants of the region,” he said.


So far, both the Syrian government and the opposition have rejected any form of federalism in northern Syria, considering it a ‘partition’. They both want one central authority to rule all of Syria, not decentralization.


Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg


Source: ARA News

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