Syria Daily: Kurds Vote in Move Towards Autonomy in North

Voters at a polling station in Qamishli, Syria, September 22, 2017 (Rodi Said/Reuters)

Kurdish votes pointing to regional assembly by January


Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria have voted in the first of three stages over new governing instituations for regional autonomy.

Voters on Friday selected leaders for about 3,700 local areas in three cantons — Afrin in the northwest, Kobani in the north, and Cezire in the northeast. The ballot will be followed in November by votes for local councils and in January for an assembly for a federal system of government.

“Today comes as a historical day for us. The people are choosing their way of life, politics, economy,” Renas Ahmed, 25, said on Friday.

Video from the Kurdish outlet ANHA:

Kurdish groups are defying Bashar al-Assad, who has objected to any federalism as he refuses to step aside in Syria’s 78-month conflict. Their plans are also opposed by Turkey, which sees the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its YPG militia as part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK. The US has also objected, even though it is supporting the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces pushing back ISIS across parts of the north.

In the past week, clashes have begun between pro-Assad forces and the SDF near Deir ez-Zor city, one of the last two major Islamic State positions, in eastern Syria. Russian warplanes supporting the pro-Assad offensive have reportedly attacked the SDF after the Kurdish-led group warned the regime military and its foreign allies against crossing the Euphrates River — a warning soon dismissed as the pro-Assad advance moved to the river’s eastern bank.

See Syria Daily, Sept 22: Russia Threatens Further Attacks v. Kurdish-Led SDF

Opposition forces, some of them supported by Turkey, also stand in the way of the Kurdish aspirations of connected the Afrin canton with those of Kobani and Cezire.

Reports: Russian Warplanes Attack Rebels in Idlib Province

Continuing their assault on opposition-held Idlib Province, Russian warplanes reportedly struck rebel headquarters on Saturday.

Idris al-Raad, a spokesman for the Failaq al-Sham faction, said their headquarters in the village of Tel Mardikh were hit with 12 raids including vacuum rockets. He said casualties included civilians.

Faylaq al-Sham has attended the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in which Russia has declared de-escalation zones, including one covering Idlib Province.

Russia and regime warplanes broke the ceasefire in the Idlib zone — agreed earlier this month between Russia, Iran, and Turkey — after rebels and the jihadists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacked regime positions in neighboring northern Hama Province.

The Russian and regime attacks have also targeted civilian sites, including medical facilities and civil defense centers, and tried to assassinate rebel commanders.

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    Yes, we have a choice. We can either go ahead with our symbolic vote, which has the potential to generate serious backlash from the countries that oppose it, or we can accept a proposed set of commitments from our allies, the most powerful nations in the world, in return for postponing the referendum. As it happens, though, we Kurds have a long and vivid memory of the many betrayals our people have suffered throughout history. For this reason, it is not at all clear to us that postponement is in our nation’s best interest.

    • Kurds have two true friends in the region. One is Israel. The other are 90% of Iranians who are opposed to the bloody Islamic regime. Should go for independence and build a country without Arab and Islamic interference.

  2. SDF has captured the Tabiyah oil fields. It is about to capture the Jafra oil fields. This while SAA is stuck with ISIS resistance in northern Deir Ezzor proper. As far as Kurds are concerned, the SAA can have all the Arab population. They are useless and a burden on any state.

    Obviously Assad and SAA, despite Ruskie backing, do not dare to confront SDF – because of US protection. There are three more oil regions with a hundred wells after Jafra north of the Euphrates. SDF should be taking them.

  3. #RojavaElections thanks to the 20k #Asayish Forces who guaranteed the safety of voters 9/22/2017

    Ara News reported, “The Asayish said in a statement that a broad security meeting was held in Qamishli in the presence of the general commander of the Asayish forces, Ciwan Ibrahim, to discuss the formation of a defense system in Rojava-Northern Syria ‘to confront the Iranian project’ that is supported by the Baath regime forces and affiliated Shia groups.” 5/30/2017

    PKK backed Yazidi Sinjar Resistance unit clash with Iranian backed Shi’ite paramilitary unit

    by The Region 23/09/2017 08:48

    An Iraqi Yazidi group backed by Kurds in Southeast Turkey and an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitary clashed on Friday near the border with Syria, a local security official said.

    Several people were wounded and possibly killed.

    The confrontation broke out at the checkpoints that separates the Yazidis’ YBS, considered a branch of PKK, a self-identified Kurdish liberation group, and Popular Mobilisation, a coalition of mainly paramilitary groups trained and armed by Iran, said a security official in the Yazidi Sinjar region in northwest Iraq. YBS stands for Sinjar Resistance Units. […] (reuters) 9/23/2017

  4. Former Israeli Deputy General says ‘PKK is not a terrorist organization’ #TheLevant #Mesopotamia… 9/14/2017

    Coalition says reports of Syrian troops killed crossing the Euphrates are “absolutely false” 9/23/2017

    A deal between Ba’ath regime and Daesh to transfer their militants to Dêra Zorê to fight Kurdish-led SDF and US. 9/22/2017

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