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Political Blocs in East Syria Support Decentralization
By Kamal Sheikho
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Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian political blocs from Qamishli, a city in the northeastern province of Hasakah, have announced the establishment of the "Peace and Freedom Front" to ease coordination on a political solution in Syria.

The front's statement called for the adoption of decentralization, just distribution of wealth and power, and reconsideration of the administrative demarcations currently in place.

The statement also defines the role of the army and security services, defending the country and maintaining its security, independence and territorial integrity.

The front includes the Kurdish National Council and Assyrian Democratic Organization, both of which are represented in the Syrian Negotiation Commission, in addition to Syria's Tomorrow Movement and Arab Council in Euphrates and Al-Jazeera.

These parties are all part of the Syrian opposition, operating in the region controlled by the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the international coalition led by the US. The agreement was reached after two major Kurdish parties reached a preliminary settlement of their differences.

The front's statement also makes clear that the new coalition "does not affect the persistence of any of its parties' membership in opposition bodies; rather, its work falls within the framework of complementing their efforts" and that the front supports opposition forces and international and regional parties seeking to end the suffering of the Syrians through a comprehensive political solution through its statement.

It also affirms the front's openness to discussion and collaboration with the parties across the Syrian opposition spectrum, in a reference to the ongoing American and French-sponsored talks between the Kurdish Council and Democratic Union Party.

Ahmed Jarba, head of Syria's Tomorrow Movement, said: "In light of the scenes that afflict Syria and the region, we have noticed a state of political rigidity and surrender, to an extent that despair has reached its climax."

"Through this announcement, we are breaking through the wall of despair and declare that it will resonate through deeds, not words."

Speaking about the inclusion of Kurds, Assyrians and Arabs in the coalition, he said: "The diversity of our backgrounds and beliefs demonstrates that the unity of the Syrian people is high and none can rise above it, and that betting on singling each of us out to bring us down and subjugate us has fallen and will not rise."

For his part, Faisal Youssef, a leader in the Kurdish National Council said: "This front was announced to reinforce coexistence between the components of the region, and (ensure) that the constitution guarantees the rights of national minorities and considers their languages and cultures to be national languages and cultures that represent Syria's history and civilization."

The statement, which includes 15 clauses, affirms that Syria is an independent and sovereign state, with the principle of the peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections as its basis.

It demands constitutional ratification that Syria is a nationality-national multi-cultural and multi-religious state and emphasizes the front's commitment to the United Nations-sponsored political process.

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