Kurdish groups in Syria were excluded from the United Nations-brokered peace talks and ceasefire under pressure from Turkey. ">
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  • Kurdish people take part in a protest in the city of al-Derbasiyah, on the Syrian-Turkish border, in this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo.

    Kurdish people take part in a protest in the city of al-Derbasiyah, on the Syrian-Turkish border, in this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 March 2016

Kurdish groups in Syria were excluded from the United Nations-brokered peace talks and ceasefire under pressure from Turkey. 

Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria declared a federal system Thursday, a move likely to further complicate peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending more than five years of war, Reuters report.

Kurdish groups in Syria were excluded from the United Nations-brokered peace talks and ceasefire under pressure from Turkey.

Therefore, it seems Kurds want to take matters in their own hands and declare autonomy in three Kurdish regions in northern Syria, which have already been under de facto autonomy under the full control of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

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"Federalism should be the future not only for northern Syria or the Kurdish regions but for Syria in general, because under federalism democracy and equality will be guaranteed," Idris Nassan, a Syrian Kurdish official and former leader in the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Al-Jazeera Wednesday.

He said preparations for federalism have been ongoing for quite some time and an announcement would be made shortly.

The new arrangement, which a conference in the Kurdish-controlled town of Rmeilan agreed would be announced Thursday, would alarm neighboring Turkey, which fears growing Kurdish sway in Syria is fuelling separatism among its own minority Kurds.

"Syria's national unity and territorial integrity is fundamental for us. Outside of this, unilateral decisions cannot have validity," a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Reuters.

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Meanwhile, the United States said Wednesday it opposed Syrian Kurds forming an autonomous region in northern Syria, but could accept such an arrangement if the Syrians collectively agreed on it.

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

However, Bashar Ja'afari, the head of the Syrian government delegation in Geneva, rejected any talk of a federal model for Syria and ruled out direct talks with the main opposition delegation.

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Ja'afari also said that Russia’s ongoing partial withdrawal of armed forces from Syria had come as no surprise to the Syrian government, describing it as "common decision, taken both by President Putin and President Assad".

The five-year Syrian conflict has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced millions, according to U.N. estimates. The conflict has resulted in a massive refugee crisis in Turkey, Lebanon and the European Union.

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