On 14 August in a speech made during the oath-taking meeting of the new Syrian cabinet, Assad stated that there is now an opportunity to move from centralisation to decentralisation.
“Decentralisation achieves a balanced development among different Syrian areas,” he said.
During a workshop “The Intellectual and Prospects for a Political Solution in Syria” held by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) in Qamishli, North East Syria on Thursday, the co-president of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) Îlham Ehmed shared her comments about these much-debated statements of the Syrian President, ANHA reported.
Sharing a positive evaluation of Assad’s decentralisation perspective, she said: “As the SDC we are insistent that Syria does not go back to how it was before 2011. But it is important to ask, in which direction will Syria then go. To pose this question is half way in answering it.”
However, she also criticised Damascus for not keeping up with their own laws on municipalities as key bodies of local administration:
“They talk about a system based on local administrations, i.e. the municipalities with reference to article 107, but they nullified this law by changing it in such a way that governors, the head of the city councils and mayors are to be appointed by the central government rather than by elections.”
Ehmed drew attention to the change in the discourse of Assad: “The regime used to keep repeating that Syria would remain as it was before 2011. This is the first time that the Syrian President himself announces that Syria cannot be ruled by the same system prior to 2011 and that it might be ruled by a decentralised system. A decentralised project is the basis of the Autonomous Administration.”
To ensure that what Assad suggests is actually realised, Ehmed suggested, “Syria needs legal, political and cultural change. After such a change, Syria can then be moved to a decentralised system.”
Ehmed shared information that the SDC has repeatedly invited the Syrian regime to discuss the autonomous democratic model and decide together how this model can be developed together. “But they just keep insisting on keeping the discussion on article 107. We did not say no, but no solution could be achieved, because they do not want to change the constitution,” she said.
“As long as the constitution remains the same, no outcome and solution can be achieved. If they want to seek a solution in line with the statements they made, they need to facilitate a long and thorough discussion.”