- Title: Election plans in Kurdish-led areas a 'joke', says Syrian minister
- Date: 6th August 2017
- Summary: SCREEN SHOWING PHOTOGRAPH OF CHEMICAL ATTACK
- Embargoed: 20th August 2017 13:52
- Keywords: Northern Syria Kurdish elections Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad interview elections a joke
- Location: DAMASCUS, SYRIA
- City: DAMASCUS, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0046T0PMX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A senior Syrian government minister on Sunday (August 6) dismissed as a "joke" plans by the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria to hold elections and said they would not be allowed to threaten the country's territorial unity.
Deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad also said the Syrian government must eventually assert control over Kurdish-led areas, which until now Damascus has tolerated in an uneasy relationship.
Kurdish groups and their allies control swathes of the north in areas held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG.
At the end of July the Kurdish-led administration there set dates between late summer and January for local council and regional assembly elections in a move apparently aimed at consolidating its growing autonomy.
Mekdad also reiterated Syria's position that its government did not carry out a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun town in April.
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