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Kurds in northern Syria set local election dates

Kurdish groups and their allies control large swathes of northern Syria. [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 July, 2017

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The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria has set dates for local council and regional assembly elections, a move viewed as consolidating growing federal autonomy amid Syria's civil war.
The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria has set dates for local council and regional assembly elections, a move viewed as consolidating growing federal autonomy amid Syria's civil war.

Kurdish groups and their allies control large swathes of northern Syria, known to Kurds as Rojava, or "West Kurdistan", in areas held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG.

Elections will be held in the late summer for bodies running local communities, with elections in November for larger areas.

In January, there will be elections for the region as a whole, a Kurdish official said on social media, according to Reuters.

Sixty percent of representatives in the regional elections will be elected directly by voters, while 40 percent of the ruling council's seats will be reserved for minorities via a quota system, Iraqi-Kurdish news network Rudaw reported.

The rule and dates of the elections were agreed by the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria set up last December.

Kurdish groups in northern Syria have carved out self-governing autonomous regions since early in Syria's six-year civil war, but have said they do not seek independence from Damascus.

Self-government by Kurds in Syria would alarm Turkey, who fears a Kurdish political entity along its southern border would embolden its own Kurdish population to take similar steps.

Turkey sees the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK - the Kurdish guerrilla organisation that has been waging a war against the Turkish state for more than thirty years.

Syrian regime president Bashar al-Assad has also in the past expressed opposition to a federal system, describing Syrian Kurdish ruling councils as "temporary structures".

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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