Syrian Democratic Council Co-Chair Riad Darar reacts to Bashar al-Assad’s statements about decentralization

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — Head of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad declared that there is now an opportunity to move from centralization to decentralization. On Saturday, in a speech made during the oath-taking meeting of the new Syrian cabinet, Assad said that, “Decentralization achieves a balanced development among different Syrian areas.”

Co-Chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) of North and East Syria Riad Darar stated in response that the premise of Assad’s statements about decentralize were correct, but that decentralization requires democracy, adding that the issue in Syria is not one of a lack of economic development but of equitable distribution and inclusive politics.

Darar stressed that decentralization requires democratic procedures so that the people of the regions themselves choose their own representatives while maintaining a central federal government that has specific sovereign ministries ensuring the unity of the country.

“The name of our Administration is not important,” he continued. “The important thing is that the Local Councils take their role, not be controlled by a governor and not be subjected to the Ministry of Local Administration.”

Darar indicated that when the Local Council is made up of the region’s people, and its president is elected by the people of the region, they can hold that president and the council accountable through direct democracy and direct accountability.

Concerning the objectives of Decree 107, Darar said that the objectives of the decree are correct.

“We have taken from the Decree the concept of democratic decentralization, and we are now applying it within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria,” he added.

“The goal is the decentralization of powers and responsibilities and centralizing them in the hands of people, in application of democracy that makes the people the source of all authority,” he confirmed.

He noted that implementing the first objective of the decree requires the creation of administrative units capable of planning and implementation processes, setting development plans for the local community, and implementing their own projects efficiently and effectively.