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Syria civil war: Kurds declare federal region

in north
Democratic Union Party and allied groups approve document that declares "federal
democratic system" in country's north.
17 Mar 2016 16:38 GMT | War & Conflict, Middle East, Syria

Kurdish fighters have been tightening their grip on several areas in northern Syrian in recent
months [Reuters]
More to this story

Syria civil war: Key powers 'consider federal division'

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several allied groups have voted
to create an autonomous federation in the northern part of Syria.
PYD officials claimed autonomy for the Kurdish-controlled areas on Thursday after two
days of meetings with delegates of different communities in the region.

Syrian Kurds say federalism is future for Syria

Representatives of the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian communities and other ethnic groups
met in the town of Rmeilan in Hassakeh province to discuss bringing three Kurdish-led
autonomous areas under the umbrella of a federal system.

" he said.Taj Kordsh." "Creating a union or a federal system . We expect to hold several other meetings to discuss how the administration of this region will be organised. Rojava autonomy declared The opposition Syrian National Coalition also said it rejected such unilateral declarations and warned against any attempt to form autonomous regions that it said would "confiscate the will of the Syrian people". Jaish al-Thuwar and other Kurdish groups are all part of the SDF. Why Syria's Kurds want federalism. The newly declared region. under Kurdish control in northern Syria: Jazira. "At least 200 representatives have met in Rmeilan to put forward this decision. consists of three distinct enclaves." The YPG. but we expect an equal and fair outcome from the peace talks. It is now our right to protect ourselves. We do not support dividing Syria. Both the Syrian government and one of the main opposition blocs immediately rejected the move. known as Rojava." the statement said.. and we have not seen any." the statement said. told Al Jazeera that the move had been made after many attempts by the Kurds to be heard. and who opposes it . a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces. one of the groups involved. contradicts the Syrian constitution and all the national concepts and international resolutions.. a coalition that was founded in Syria's northeastern region in October. The Syrian foreign ministry issued a warning to "anyone who dares to undermine the unity of the land and the people of Syria under any title. or cantons. "The Kurdish people have been rejected and silenced in the latest peace talks in Geneva. Kobani and Afrin. "We feel that the world powers are using us as a tool to push forward their agendas.

The move is likely to anger neighbouring Turkey. which fears that growing Kurdish power in Syria is encouraging separatism ambitions amongst its own Kurdish minority. because under federalism democracy and equality will be guaranteed. "Federalism should be the future not only for northern Syria or the Kurdish regions but for Syria in general. Syria's Kurds effectively control an uninterrupted 400km of territory along the SyrianTurkish border from the Euphrates River to the frontier with Iraq. where Iraqi Kurds have enjoyed autonomy since the early 1990s. said the announcement would mean "widening the framework of self-administration" across northern Syria. a Syrian Kurdish official and former leader of the Democratic Union Party. Nassan said preparations for federalism had been under way for some time. They also hold a separate section of the northwestern border in the Afrin area. Idris Nassan. Speaking to Al Jazeera from Kobane." he said. .

Nadiya Savchenko: Ukraine's pilot hero on Russian murder charge  21 March 2016 Nadiya Savchenko is a hero in Ukraine. When Ukraine sent 1. she swore at the judge and refused to recognise the court's authority. getting the smell of gunpowder. She denies being involved. working as a radio operator before training as a paratrooper. She was raised. The military pilot. By 16 she was determined to become a pilot. and her defence team say that phone records from the day of the strike prove her innocence. "I believe you can only become an officer after enlisting and taking part in live combat. who says she was abducted by pro-Russian rebels and smuggled into Russia. Prosecutors say the 34-year-old guided a Ukrainian mortar strike which hit a Russian state TV crew in June 2014. But in Russia. She became ill during a hunger strike in protest at her treatment. in a Ukrainian-speaking household and attended the city district's only Ukrainian-speaking school. She cut a defiant figure during her trial. From the glass cage that was her dock. She signed up to the army. means "hope" in Ukrainian. along with her younger sister Vira." she said at her trial. . After months of what many observers are calling a show trial." she told a Ukrainian television reporter in Iraq in 2005. Ms Savchenko stands accused of murder. She has been elected an MP in her absence and awarded Ukraine's highest honour.690 soldiers to support the US-led military campaign in Iraq. Her defence team has expressed concerns about her health. Golden hands Ms Savchenko was born in Kiev in 1981. "Hope is the last thing to die. Vira told broadcaster RFE/RL. when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. she is awaiting a verdict over the death of two Russian journalists. Nadiya. has become a symbol of resistance at home. she was the only woman among them. Her name. Now Ms Savchenko faces a possible sentence of 23 years in a Russian prison.

causing international outrage at the possibility she had been abducted. "There's an expression about people having 'golden hands' . She told a Moscow television reporter from inside her detention centre in July 2014 that she had been "ambushed" by rebels. she says: "I cannot explain this feeling.was defiant throughout her trial In 2009 Ms Savchenko graduated from the Air Force University and was posted to an army aviation regiment." But when a separatist revolt broke out in eastern Ukraine. two months after the overthrow of Kiev's Moscow-backed leaders. such as designing clothes and doing embroidery. more "feminine" interests. She disappeared." said Vira. Asked to describe what it is like to fly. Her defence team says her mobile phone records show she had been moved to the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk at least an hour before the Russians were killed. She said she was smuggled across the border. disguised as a refugee. rather than jump out of them. The once-obscure film has now been viewed nearly 200. ." she said.people who. resurfacing a week later in the southern Russian city of Voronezh as a Russian prisoner. It is as if you are in heaven. She says she rushed to the area because the rebels had hit two armoured personnel carriers and a tank.000 times on YouTube. Ms Savchenko took leave from the air force and joined a volunteer battalion to fight the rebels. Her primary duty involved navigating military helicopters but she wanted to fly fighter jets. can just pick it up immediately and be great at it. Russian investigators insist she was arrested "in strict accordance with Russian law" after entering the country illegally. and she wanted to see if anyone was wounded. she was in the vicinity of a mortar strike that killed two Russian journalists. wearing a blindfold .But Ms Savchenko harboured an ambition to fly planes. "My sister is this kind of person. which made her career the subject of a 2011 documentary. The film includes footage of her serving in Iraq in 2005 but also highlights her other. Her exploits brought her to the attention of Ukrainian Forces TV. That would mean becoming the first woman accepted to Ukraine's highly-selective Air Force University in Kharkiv. "This really was a kidnapping. even if they don't know how to do a particular thing. 'Ambush' On 17 June 2014.

I forgot what it's like to sleep. "I am so nervous." she said. and lost 20kg in bodyweight. she said: "I admit no guilt and I recognise neither the court nor the verdict. when she was chosen to represent Ukraine in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. she announced another hunger strike. I am worried about my child. Ms Savchenko faces a long prison term. saying she would also refuse to drink water. If I am found guilty. She remained in prison through January. Then earlier this month. but her election came and went a month later with no pardon. She abandoned her fast after 83 days. I want the entire democratic world to understand that Russia is a Third World country with a totalitarian regime and a petty tyrant for a dictator and it spits on international law and human rights. In a final statement to the court. "Help me. I will not appeal. Her mother. she declared a hunger strike in protest at her detention. The hunger strike was later aborted as her health deteriorated. In December that year. Supporters hoped that success would hasten her release. Ms Savchenko stood for parliament in October 2014 from a psychiatric ward in a Russian prison. amid serious concern for her health." If found guilty. as her trial neared its end. appealed to world leaders this month to put pressure on Russia to release her. Help her be freed from that jail.In an unlikely electoral campaign. I am a 78-year-old mother. Maria. The prospect has taken a heavy toll on her family." .