As an alliance of U.S.-backed militias advance against Islamic State in northern Syria, their political allies are making progress of their own toward a new federal system of government which they hope will take root in newly captured areas.
The autonomous federation being planned by Syrian Kurdish parties and their allies is taking shape fast: a constitution should be finalised in three months, and possibly sooner, to be followed quickly by elections, a Kurdish official said.
While Kurdish groups insist this is no separatist bid, it is set to redraw the map as U.N. diplomacy fails to make any progress toward ending the war that has splintered Syria into a patchwork of separately-run areas.
In so doing, it is likely to deepen the concerns of NATO member Turkey about growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria, a region whose once unfamiliar Kurdish name - Rojava - has now entered the Middle East's political lexicon.
The plan had taken on even greater significance since the Syria Democratic Forces alliance, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, mounted a rapid new advance westwards this month into Islamic State's last foothold at the Turkish border.
It holds out the prospect of more areas being included in the federation, plans for which were first unveiled in March.
The idea of newly-captured territory joining the "Democratic Federal System for Rojava - Northern Syria" was discussed last week with members of a local council set up to run the IS-held city of Manbij, a target of the campaign.
"We gave them an idea about the plan we are working on, and expressed to them our desire for Manbij to be part of the democratic federal area after its liberation," said Hadiya Yousef, a senior Kurdish official who is co-chair of an assembly that is overseeing the project.