Izvestia: Syrian Kurds to hold parliamentary elections in early 2018

The Federation of Northern Syria, also known as Western Kurdistan, plans to hold local elections by the end of this year, and a parliamentary vote at the beginning of 2018, Izvestia writes on Friday. Abd Salam Ali, a representative of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Russia, told the publication that “each nationality will be represented in the legislative body, the Arabs and the Kurds will have an equal number of seats, while other ethnic groups will have less seats.” “I would like to stress that the issue is not about a drive for independence from Syria, on the contrary, we are insisting on the nation’s federalization, which will strengthen its unity. If the new constitution guarantees rights for each nationality, it will only solidify Syria, and this concerns not only the Kurds,” he said, adding that a proposal has been made to rename the country from the Syrian Arab Republic to the Syrian Democratic Federation Republic in order to avoid mentioning particular nationalities in official names.

Meanwhile, top-ranked sources in Russia’s diplomatic circles told Izvestia that the Kurds are doing everything to separate themselves from Damascus and eventually withdraw from Syria, with Washington backing those attempts. “The United States is engaged in a project for an independent Kurdistan, which implies that apart from Syria huge territories will be separated from Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Let’s see how it unfolds, taking into account the notorious views of Damascus, Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran regarding the Kurds,” one of the sources said.

Experts interviewed by the newspaper do not rule out that Washington’s support may indeed contribute to the collapse of the country. According to Middle Eastern specialist and former diplomat Vyacheslav Matuzov, “as the defeat of the terrorist groups is nearing, now the issue of control over the territories captured by the Kurdish units is surfacing, and the only right option is to place them under the control of official Damascus.” “Other options would spell a division of Syria and a direct path to a new war taking into account the position of Turkey, which has deployed its troops to Syrian soil for opposing the Kurds,” he said, adding that “the main thing the Americans should do is to stop encouraging the Kurds to create their own governing bodies and pushing them towards independence.”

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Published in tass.com