Syria: Rojava rebels and allies create democratic federal system

On March 17, after a two-day meeting held in the town of Girkê Legê (Al-Muabbada) in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), a Constituent Assembly established a “Rojava-Northern Syria Democratic Federal System”.

The Constituent Assembly was attended by 31 parties and 200 delegates representing Rojava's Kobanê, Efrîn and Cizîrê cantons and the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Syriac, Armenian, Turkmen and Chechen peoples of Girê Spî (Tal Abyad), Shaddadi, Aleppo and Shehba regions.

The Constituent Assembly represented the three self-governing cantons of Rojava, which were established in 2012, and other areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance led by Rojava-based forces.

The move was immediately condemned by both the Russian-backed Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad, the Western-backed opposition Syrian National Coalition and the governments of Turkey and the US.

The condemnations were on the basis that it was a move toward creating a separate state, violating Syria's territorial integrity. However, leaders of the new federal system stressed that the aim was not to create a separate entity but to forge a democratic model for the whole of Syria offering a way out of the multi-sided civil war that has divided Syria since 2011.

Middle East Eye said on March 17 that representatives of would “be subject to annual scrutiny by the people who elected them. Water and energy will be communally owned – exploitation of capital and monopolies will be rejected.”

An executive committee of 33 members to organise an interim regional constitution will be elected. Hediya Yousef, a Kurd, and Mansur Selum, an Arab, were elected as the co-chairs the committee.

The Constituent Assembly released the following declaration.

* * *

To the Syrian, regional, and global public.

In response to the appeal made by the General Coordination of Democratic Self-Administration Areas (Cizîrê, Kobanê and Efrîn), all components of the political forces, parties, and social actors in the cantons of Rojava and the areas liberated from terrorist forces held a meeting resulting in a comprehensive political vision for a Syrian resolution and an agreement on the management system for Rojava/Northern Syria. This can serve as a model for the rest of Syria, providing a solution for the Syrian crisis. We, the representatives of these areas, met on 16th and 17th March 2016.

We commemorate with respect the martyrs of our people, who wrote with their blood the heroic resistance that has brought our people to the milestone they are at today.

This aforementioned meeting resulted in the following decisions.

1. The democratic federal system encapsulates all social components and guarantees that a future Syria will be for all Syrians.

2. All work will be towards establishing a democratic federal system for Rojava/Northern Syria.

3. Co-presidents and a 31-person Organising Council were elected.

4. The Organising Council was assigned to prepare a social contract and a comprehensive political and legal vision for this system within a period not exceeding six months.

5. All assembly committees and documents will adhere to UN resolutions on human rights and societal democratic systems. Furthermore, all attendees of the meeting see themselves as part of the new system being constructed and are aware of the deep ties it has with the people of Syria; they predicate their participation on the fraternity of peoples and peace.

6. Women's freedom is the essence of the federal democratic system. Women have the right to equal participation and in decision-related responsibilities in relation to female issues. Women will be represented as equals in all spheres of life, including all social and political spheres.

7. The peoples and communities living in the federal system in Rojava/Northern Syria can develop their political, economic, social, cultural, and democratic relations with whom they see fit, or share their beliefs and culture with the people and communities on a regional and international level, provided that this relationship does not interfere with the objectives and interests of the federal democratic system.

8. The peoples of regions liberated by the democratic forces from terrorist organisations will have the right to become a part of the federal democratic system of Rojava-Northern Syria, if they so choose.

9. The goal of the Rojava/Northern Syria democratic federal system on the regional level is to achieve democratic union between all the peoples of the Middle East in the political, economic, cultural and social spheres and transcend national state borders to create a secure, peaceful and fraternal life for all.

10. The creation of a federal and democratic system shall take place within a sovereign Syria.

To all people in Syria, Kurdistan and Rojava and all groups and social classes.

We are going through a historical phase and critical circumstances. Today, Syria is experiencing the worst tragedy in its history. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, not to mention the immense damage that the infrastructure of Syria has suffered.

In spite of this, a democratic experience has been created and defended in Rojava with the blood of martyrs. Great gains have been achieved in this period. This is a real opportunity to build a federal democratic system. We are sure and confident that this will be a model for a solution to the Syrian crisis.

In the framework of the decisions we have taken, we are calling foremostly on women who represent a new and free life, as well as young people, communities, workers and all other social sectors to join in the construction of a democratic federal system. We are also calling on all progressive humanity and democratic forces to support our efforts.

Long live our people's determination, their coexistence, and their unity.

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