Syrian Kurds and their allies aim to finalize plans within six months for an autonomous political federation in northern Syria, pressing ahead despite the objections of foreign governments which fear Syria's disintegration.
While talks to end the five-year conflict in Syria struggle, the plans are taking shape independently of United Nations-led diplomacy and creating facts on the ground in an area of the country known in Kurdish as Rojava.
But the goal of a federal administration where Kurdish officials say other ethnic groups will have autonomy and rights is encountering resistance, notably from the United States, which backs the main Kurdish militia militarily.
Hadiya Yousef, a Kurdish official leading efforts to build the new government, says it is time the West gave its full backing to a plan she says is not aimed at Kurdish secession but at helping to resolve the Syrian crisis.
"We don't expect hostile parties to support this project, but we hope Western states that have lived the experience of unions and federalism to support this type of project," she told Reuters in an interview.