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Syrian foreign minister says federalism is ‘unconstitutional’

Image of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem [A Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr]
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem [A Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr]

Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Muallem, said on Monday that federalism is contrary to the current constitution, the SANA news agency has reported. He added that the government in Damascus wants to retain control over all Syrian territory.

Al-Muallem made his comments after meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in the Syrian capital. “If [the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)] want to continue to demand federalism,” he added, “they have to learn from the lessons of the past decades. Syria’s decision is to extend its sovereignty over the region.” The YPG currently control Syria’s eastern Euphrates region.

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However, the foreign minister’s remarks appear to contradict a statement he made last year. “The Syrian government,” he said on 25 September 2017, “may consider the Kurdish brothers’ demands once the Islamic State organisation is defeated, and there is dialogue to reach a formula of understanding in the future.”

Following an invitation from Al-Muallem, a delegation from the YPG has met with the Syrian regime in Damascus to discuss the details of governance in areas controlled by the group, military cooperation and self-economy in the region, as well as integration and joint cooperation against Turkey. However, all the meetings ended in deadlock with the Kurds insisting on a federal system.

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