MESOP : A LONG DISTANCE CONFLICT STARTS WITH BRIGHT FUTURE / Syrian rebel factions reject Kurdish federal region as move to partition

BEIRUT,— 19 March 2016 – Dozens of Syrian rebel factions on Friday condemned a Kurdish declaration of a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan in the war-ravaged country’s north as a step towards partition.

“We categorically reject the declaration… regarding an autonomously-run or federal region in northern Syria and we consider it to be a dangerous step aimed at partitioning Syria,” some 70 rebel factions said in a statement posted online.The unity of Syria’s people and land, and our rejection of any plans for partition or any other design that could lead to partition… constitute a red line,” they said. Syria’s Kurds and allied groups on Thursday announced a “federal system” to unite areas under their control across several provinces in Syrian Kurdistan, the country’s north.

The declaration was swiftly shot down by the High Negotiations Committee, the main opposition grouping, and by the government, both in Geneva for peace talks to try to end Syria’s five-year war.And rebel groups on Friday threatened to use “all the political and military force” at their disposal to counter the announcement.They likened the Kurdish declaration to the Islamic State jihadist group’s bid to carve out a self-styled “caliphate” from swathes of territory under its control in Syria and Iraq.“Several groups have taken advantage of the Syrian people’s revolution and their sacrifices and taken control of parts of Syrian territory to set up ethnic, nationalist and sectarian entities,” their statement read.“The first of these plans was the one executed by Daesh,” it added, using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS. Signatories to the statement included the powerful Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) and the Jabha Shamiya (Levant Front).