Daily Israel Report

Syria May Officially Split in Two

Syrian opposition weighs independent government on territory conquered from Assad.
By Dalit Halevy, Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/8/2013, 5:32 PM

Syrian troops take position in a heavily damaged area in Aleppo
Syrian troops take position in a heavily damaged area in Aleppo
AFP photo

Syria may split into multiple states, according to recent reports in the Arab-language media. Opposition leaders are weighing the option of establishing their own government, which would rule the territories that rebel troops have conquered in their war against Syria President Bashar Assad.

Al-Hayat reports that the heads of the Free Syrian Army, led by Salim Idriss, have been in talks with the Syrian National Coalition, led by Ahamd Aweinan Assi al-Jarba, regarding the appointments that would be made in a new, rebel-led government.

The sides have reportedly agreed that the government will include 12 ministers.

Syria has in effect already been split into two separate territories, one under the control of rebel troops and one still in Assad’s hands. Rebel leaders may hope that making the new status official will help them earn support, both at home and abroad, as potential future leaders of Syria, if Assad is overthrown.

However, as opposed to a clean split, the newly suggested Free Syrian Army – Syrian National Coalition government, could end up as one of three or even four bodies fighting for control in various parts of the country. Dozens of Islamist factions have declared that they do not support the Syrian National Coalition, and some of the factions have also set about making their own state – first declaring independence in Aleppo, and more recently, weighing the possibility of an Islamist state in northern Syria.

The potential Islamist takeover in the north has Syria’s Kurdish population worried, and Kurdish leaders have responded with a proposal for Kurdish autonomy in the threatened regions. While they insist that their goal is a “pluralistic” state of Syria, rather than an independent state, the proposed autonomy – with its own constitution and social, economic and defense establishment – would also be well positioned to become a separate state in the future.