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Why Moscow now sees value in Syrian local councils

Russia has come to realize that some opponents of the Syrian regime are actually moderates rather than terrorists and that a move to empower local governments could help resolve the conflict.
A Syrian man casts his vote in a ballot box at a polling station in the city of Idlib as they elect the city's first civilian council, two years after it was overrun by rebels and jihadists, on January 17, 2017.
Regime forces were expelled from Idlib city in March 2015 by the Army of Conquest, led by the Fateh al-Sham Front, which changed its name from Al-Nusra Front when it broke ties with Al-Qaeda. Since then, a committee appointed by the Army of Conquest had run the city's affairs, electoral commission h

The major political slogan of the Bolshevik Party leading up to the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution and the uprising itself, “All Power to the Soviets!” is now relevant to Syria.

The long-lasting civil war in Syria killed centralized government stone dead and caused a de facto territorial fragmentation. Although international players are currently voicing “commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” it also is a fact that alternative forms of civic self-government, namely local councils, have held sway in rebel-controlled districts for some time now.

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