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Syrian Kurds Say They'll Declare Federal Region In Syria

Syrian Kurds Say They'll Declare Federal Region In Syria

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia have been an important ally in the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State in Syria, and this has also been a point of friction between the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey.

Kurdish groups, which hold large stretches of northern Syria, have been excluded from ongoing peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country's five-year conflict.

"The gathering will try to develop a new ruling system in northern of Syria", Sihanuk Dibo, a consultant to Syria's key Kurdish political group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) told AFP.

Such a system would expand "the framework of self-administration which the Kurds and others have formed" in northern Syria, Mr. Nassan said.

The Kurds appear to be taking matters into their own hands after being excluded from the talks in Geneva, which began on Monday, by drawing up plans to combine three Kurdish-led autonomous areas of northern Syrian into a federal arrangement.

More than 150 delegates from Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and other parties were meeting on Wednesday in the town of Rmeilan, in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province.

The PYD has been left out of peace talks underway in Geneva, in line with the wishes of Turkey, which sees it as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK).

Representatives of Turkey, Syria, and the Syrian opposition all expressed resistance to the Kurds' plan.

"We remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Syria", Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

"All the suggestions are now headed towards federalism".

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Both the Syrian government and the opposition, at least in theory, reject any form of partition of Syria.

Syria's ambassador to the UN Bashar Al Jaafari said the Kurdish move would not work.

Russian warplanes and troops stationed at Russia's air base in Syria started leaving for home on Tuesday after a partial pullout order from President Vladimir Putin the previous day, a step that raises hopes for progress at the newly reconvened U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva.

"Betting on creating any kind of divisions among the Syrians will be a total failure", Ja'afari said.

Such a move, potentially could alarm Turkey, which fears separatist sentiment in its own Kurdish population.

"A federal state for ruling all of Syria is the best way to protect Syria from being divided up, because there is major distrust among the different sides", said Ibrahim Ibrahim, a PYD media official.

The development out of the Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria came as Russian Federation continued to withdraw its forces from Syria - a move that de Mistura declared as "significant".

Stoltenberg, who spoke during a visit to Afghanistan, said the consequences of the withdrawal are yet to be seen but that he "would welcome any action that reduces the military tensions in Syria".

"We're focused on advancing a negotiated political transition toward an inclusive government that is capable of serving the interests of all the Syrian people", Toner said.

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