Arab League rejects Kurd-led moves for federal Syria

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The Arab League on Monday rejected Kurdish-led moves for a federal system of government in Syria, charging that they would lead to the break-up of the war-torn country.

League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli said the pan-Arab bloc would not recognise last week’s unilateral proclamation by the Kurds and their Arab and Assyrian Christian allies.

“The Arab League rejects such separatist calls that harm the unity of Syria,” Ben Helli told reporters.

“The unity and territorial integrity of Syria is a fundamental principle” of the Arab League.

Both the Damascus government and the main Syrian opposition grouping involved in UN-brokered peace negotiations in Geneva, the High Negotiations Committee, have also rejected Thursday’s move by the Kurds and their allies.

Washington has said it will not recognise any autonomous regions they set up under their planned federation and says that Syria’s future system of government is something to be negotiated in the UN talks.

But it has also said that it will continue to work closely with the Kurds, whom it regards as the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State jihadist group.

The Kurds and their allies have not been invited to the Geneva talks.

Some of the League’s other 21 members have federal systems of government, notably Iraq.