Syrian Kurds declare new province

The Kurdish-run new province includes a town on the border with Turkey recaptured from ISIS in June

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Syria’s Kurds have incorporated a mixed town they captured from ISIS group into territory they claim in the country’s north, a leading party said Wednesday.

The move to bring the border town of Tal Abyad into the autonomous administration led by Kurdish forces in the country’s north and northeast comes as the Kurds work increasingly closely with Arab forces against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

According to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Tal Abyad’s local council agreed Wednesday their town would be ruled by “autonomous administration, formally part of the autonomous administration in the Kobane canton.”

In June, Kurdish forces and their Arab rebel allies expelled ISIS from Tal Abyad, in Syria’s northern Raqa province, after fierce clashes.

A local council of Kurds and Arabs has since overseen the town's affairs.

Quoted in the PYD’s statement, local official Ferhad Derek said Tal Abyad would become “a model of peaceful coexistence for all the Syrian people.”

A Kurdish-led autonomous administration has ruled parts of northern and northeastern Syria since government troops withdrew from majority-Kurdish areas in 2012.

The territories are divided into three “cantons,” Jazira in Syria’s northeast, Kobane in the north, and Afrin in the northwest.

Kurdish affairs analyst Mutlu Civiroglu told AFP that Kurds, Arabs and others in Tal Abyad had agreed to “democratic autonomy.”

“However this does not mean they will be separate, but part of Kobane canton,” he said.

Earlier this month, Kurds and allied rebel groups formalized their alliance by announcing a joint military force called the Syrian Democratic Forces, which included Kurds, Arabs, and Syriac Christians.

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