The Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northern Syria has set dates for local council and regional assembly elections—a move immediately rejected by the Bashar Assad regime. Deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters from Damascus that the elections “will be a joke. Syria will never ever allow any part of its territory to be separated… We believe that in the north of Syria we have Syrian citizens who will not endanger the situation in the country or move ahead to any manifestation of dividing Syria. Those who will move in those directions know what price they have to pay.”
Mekdad added: “We of course only recognize the local councils established by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Despite the charges of the Rojava Kurds cooperating with the Assad regime, Assad’s rejection of a federalist model for Syria will continue to prevent any long-term pact between them.
Rojava authorities said ections will be held in the late summer for bodies running local communities, with elections in November for larger areas (cantons). In January, there will be elections for the autonomous region as a whole. Forty percent of the regional council’s seats will be reserved for minorities under a quota system. The rules and schedule for the elections were agreed by the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria set up last December. (Rudaw, New Arab, Syria News, Aug. 7)