Interim local council established in Syria’s Afrin

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Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen civilian representatives have established an interim local council in Syria’s Afrin on Thursday to provide local services.

According to Anadolu Agency reporters on the ground, the city’s elders have voted and formed a temporary local council in the center of Afrin.

Eleven of the 20-member council were elected by Kurds, eight by Arabs and one by Turkmens.

Zuheyr Haydar, a Kurdish representative, was elected president of the council.

The seats of the executive board go to Zakarya Mohammad, Jasim al-Sifari, Ahmet Haj Hasan, Abdurrahman Najjar, Horu Osman and Muhammad Sheikh Rashit.

To become a member of the council it is an obligation to be a citizen of Afrin.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency Haydar thanked Turkey for its support.

“We thank Turkey for giving us this opportunity. We will serve the people of Afrin, like the Euphrates Shield [region], the Olive Branch region will be an example,” he said.

Haydar called on all people of Afrin to return to their homes.

“We can make a more democratic election if all people of Afrin come back. We will manage ourselves, not others from Qandil or other places,” he said.

Haydar said the local council was founded under the supervision of the Syrian Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK), stating that it will be connected to the local council of Aleppo.

He said the local council was in favor of the territorial integrity of the country.

Abdulrahman Mustafa, deputy head of the coalition, who was in Afrin during the elections said that Turkey is working to prevent the division of Syria.

“Our priority with Turkey is the same. The local council will begin its services in health and education in a short time. We will endeavor to bring back those who fled terrorists to Afrin,” he said.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.

On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated Afrin town center, which had been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since 2012.

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