Syrians register for the first local elections in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on Sept. 19, 2017. (AFP / Delil souleiman)
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Residents of Kurdish-majority areas of northern Syria began voting Friday in the region's first local elections, as part of a push to cement a semi-autonomous regional government.Friday's vote is the first stage in a three-part election to select representatives at the district, municipal and regional levels. The vote has been dismissed by Syria's central government as "a joke", but for Kurds it represents a step towards a long-sought federal system. Voter Mohamed Khalil said the election was the realisation of a dream for Syria's Kurds.Experts say the vote will be dominated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syria's leading Kurdish party, which Turkey accuses of ties to the banned PKK.
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