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The federalization of Syria has been proposed as a way to end the
Syrian Civil War The Syrian civil war ( ar, الْحَرْبُ الْأَهْلِيَّةُ السُّورِيَّةُ, ''al-ḥarb al-ʾahlīyah as-sūrīyah'') is an ongoing multi-sided civil war in Syria fought between the Syrian Arab Republic led by Syrian p ...

Syrian Civil War
. In the broadest sense, it means turning the
centralized Centralisation or centralization (see American and British English spelling differences#iseize, spelling differences) is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, framing ...
Syrian Arab Republic Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in ...
into a
federal republic A federal republic is a federation of states with a republic A republic ( la, res publica, links=yes, meaning "public affair") is a List of forms of government, form of government in which "power is held by the people and their elected repr ...
with autonomous subdivisions. Many powers and actors involved in the Syrian Civil War have entertained the idea of "federal division", not least among them
Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering and encompassing mo ...
,
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...
representatives, and the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...
. President has not ruled out the possibility of a federal democratic state of Syria.
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...

Turkey
is strongly hostile towards the idea of federalization in Syria because it fears possible repercussions for its own highly centralized state. Due to the fact that federalization would more or less follow ethnic and possibly also religious-sectarian lines, it has been dismissed as "division of the country" and "
Balkanization Balkanization refers to the fragmentation, or sub-fragmentation, of a larger region or state into smaller regions or states, which may be hostile or uncooperative with one another. When sponsored or encouraged by a sovereign third party, the term ...
" by its opponents. Mainstream institutions of the
Syrian opposition The Syrian opposition ( ar, المعارضة السورية ', ) is the political structure represented by the Syrian National Coalition and associated Syrian anti-government groups with certain territorial control as an Syrian Interim Governm ...
based in Turkey or
Qatar Qatar (, , or ; ar, قطر ' ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar ( ar, دولة قطر '), is a country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian ...
like the
Syrian National Council The Syrian National Council (SNC; ar, المجلس الوطني السوري, ''al- Majlis al-Waṭanī as-Sūri'', french: Conseil national syrien), sometimes known as the Syrian National Transitional Council or the National Council of Syria, ...
and the
National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces ( ar, الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية), commonly named the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) ( ar, الائتلاف الو ...
have consistently rejected the idea of federalization, while
Kurds in Syria The Kurdish population of Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻAr ...
have strongly promoted the idea. The
Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. ...
-based opposition party Syria's Tomorrow Movement takes an intermediate position.


Timeline during the Syrian Civil War

On 17 March 2016, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria was unilaterally declared a federation of Regions of Rojava, autonomous cantons modelled after the cantons of Switzerland; Afrin Region, Afrin Canton, Jazira Region, Jazira Canton and Euphrates Region, Kobanî Canton, as well as the Shahba Canton, Shahba region. The federation is considered by its protagonists to be a model for Syria as a whole. The move was dismissed by the Syrian government and disapproved of by Turkey and the United States. In September 2016, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, came out in an interview as one of the first regional politicians taking a public stand for the federalization of Syria. He said that the establishment of a federal system in Syria would "guarantee to preserve the institutions and unity" and that a federal system would be "the most appropriate solution and will protect the country from destruction." In October 2016, a Russian initiative for federalization with a focus on northern Syria was reported, which at its core called for the existing institutions of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria to be recognised by the Syrian government, which rejected the call. After Syrian peace process#First round of Astana talks (January 2017), multilateral peace talks in Astana in January 2017, Russia offered a draft for a future constitution of Syria, which would inter alia turn the "Syrian Arab Republic" into the "Republic of Syria", introduce decentralized authorities as well as elements of federalism like "association areas", strengthen the parliament at the cost of the presidency, and realize Secularism in Syria, secularism by abolishing Islamic jurisprudence as a source of legislation. The same month, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that "implementation of a Dayton Agreement, Dayton style accord in Syria and introduction of some form of a federal solution in Syria (...) may indeed be the right way forward or the only way forward in the end of all this."


Historical antecedents

During the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, French mandate, Syria was subdivided into various autonomous entities, most of which bore the designation "Constituent state, state" (in French ''État''; in Arabic ''Dawlat''): *the Alawite State, State of the Alawites *the Al-Jazira Province, Province of Jazira *the Jabal Druze State (originally called the State of Souaida) *the State of Aleppo *the State of Damascus *the Greater Lebanon, State of Greater Lebanon *the Hatay State, State of Hatay (originally called the Sanjak of Alexandretta) *the State of Syria (1924–30), State of Syria These autonomous entities did not correspond to the Administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire, administrative division of Ottoman Syria. France ceded Hatay to Turkey in 1939, and Lebanon became an independent state (separate from the rest of Syria) in 1945.


See also

*Constitution of Syria *Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria *Ethnic groups in Syria *Regions of Rojava *Religion in Syria *Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War *Syrian Democratic Forces *Syrian peace process


References


External links

* * * * * * * *{{cite journal, last1=Khaddour, first1=K., last2=Mazur, first2=K., year=2013, title=The Struggle for Syria's Regions, journal=Middle East Report, volume=43, pages=269– Consequences of the Syrian civil war Decentralization, Syria Federalism in Syria Middle East peace efforts, Syria Politics of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Politics of Syria Subdivisions of Syria Syrian civil war Syrian peace process