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In Syria, local councils – city-based governance structures generally operating in areas held by the opposition but also present in Kurdish regions – have proliferated in areas where government control has receded. These councils base their legitimacy on Legislative Decree 107, a decentralization law passed in Damascus in August 2011 as part of a package of legislative reforms to appease the popular protests that had spread across the country. The areas in which the provisions of Decree 107 have most been implemented are those under the control of various armed opposition groups, who have adopted a slightly modified form of the decree to empower the local council structure that has proliferated in northwestern Syria.For example, one of the main differences between how the government and opposition conceive of the Local Administration Law concerns the role and authority of governors.Furthermore, without a significant devolution of power to local bodies, Kurdish-controlled areas are likely to balk at the idea of handing significant power back to Damascus.
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