Russia’s proposed Syria constitution not solution says Kurdish leader

Northern Syria Federation Constituent Assembly co-leader Hediye Yusif (ANHA)

The co-leader of the Northern Syria Federation Constituent Assembly, Hediye Yusif, has said the constitution proposed by Moscow for a solution to the Syria crisis has positive points but is not a solution.

Speaking to Syrian Kurdish ANHA News Agency recently, Yusif, commented on possible future relations with the central government in Damascus and said these would be based on a federal structure and equal sharing of power.

Yusif said the Northern Syria Federation project did not propose a racist [nationalist], conservative and central solution and was part of a larger federalised Syria.

“We have defined the Northern Syria Federation as a part of the Syria Federation. When the construction of the system reaches a certain point we will of course develop ties with the Damascus Central Government. This will also be the case for other regions of the Syria Federation.”

Commenting on economy, national defence foreign relations and administration, Yusif, said these spheres of organisation would all be autonomous from the central government.

“The Damascus Central Government has to be respect the specificity of each federal region. It has to take decisions on legislative matters by engaging with the Peoples’ Democratic Assembly and the Local Federal Assembly. This is also the case for spheres such as economy and self-defence.”

The co-leader of the Constituent Assembly, which declared a federation in Northern Syria in March 2016, said that the economy of the federal regions had to be shared from the national treasury in a equal and just manner.

“When the Northern Syria Federation becomes self-sufficient then this matter can be discussed again. Economy must also be assessed according to the specificity and needs of each federal region. The central government can make agreements with the Northern Syria Federation but cannot impose any unilateral measures on regions.

“The Northern Syria Federation is going to have a strategic common self-defence system, like a national army. This force is going to defend Northern Syria and if needed, other parts of Syria too. The Syria Democrat Forces [SDF] is like a nucleus of this at the moment. It is waging a struggle against terrorists in Raqqa, Deir al-Zor and Aleppo. People engaging in self-defence duty in Northern Syria do not have to conscript in another part of the country.

“The Northern Syria Federation can develop ties and make agreements with external entities providing that it contradictory to the Syrian Constitution. Any agreements must serve the interests of the people and not endanger the rest of the federal regions.”

Regarding the constitution recently proposed by Russia, Yusif said they had proposed their own solution before and would not wait for the Syrian war to end to implement it.

“The Kurdish issue and cause is not an issue of cultural rights; we are a people with an ancient history, have roots in civilisation and a rich culture. Therefore the constitution proposed by Russia, which recognises cultural and local governance rights, will not provide a solution to the problem. We are Syria’s national force. We have liberated our region and formed our federal system. This is our natural right.

The draft proposed by Russia includes several positive articles. It could be a basis for future talks and negotiations. However our project prevents and rejects the centralisation of Syria… Our system is different to all other federal systems around the world. We studied all the examples and then developed our own system based on the sociological differences and richness of our region. There are similarities to Switzerland but it is not exactly the same. This is because the Northern Syria Federation project is grounded on the concept of the democratic-nation.”

The Northern Syria Federation is also known by its Kurdish name Rojava (‘West’ in Kurdish).