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On 28 December 2016, after a meeting of the 151-member Syrian Democratic Council in Rmelan, a new constitution was resolved; despite objections by 12 Kurdish parties, the region was renamed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, removing the name "Rojava"."For a former diplomat like me, I found it confusing: I kept looking for a hierarchy, the singular leader, or signs of a government line, when, in fact, there was none; there were just groups.
There was none of that stifling obedience to the party, or the obsequious deference to the "big man"—a form of government all too evident just across the borders, in Turkey to the north, and the Kurdish regional government of Iraq to the south.
The demographics of this area underwent a huge shift in the early part of the 20th century.
Some Circassian, Kurdish and Chechen tribes cooperated with the Ottoman (Turkish) authorities in the massacres of Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Upper Mesopotamia, between 19, with further attacks on unarmed fleeing civilians conducted by local Arab militias.
Northern Syria is part of the Fertile Crescent, and includes archaeological sites dating to the Neolithic, such as Tell Halaf.
In antiquity, the area was part of the Mitanni kingdom, its centre being the Khabur river valley in modern-day Jazira Region.
Similarly, the Kurd-Dagh (Kurdish Mount) has been inhabited by Kurds for more than a millennium.
In his report for the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council titled Persecution and Discrimination against Kurdish Citizens in Syria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights held that "Successive Syrian governments continued to adopt a policy of ethnic discrimination and national persecution against Kurds, completely depriving them of their national, democratic and human rights – an integral part of human existence.On 17 March 2016, at a TEV-DEM-organized conference in Rmelan the establishment the Democratic Federation of Rojava – Northern Syria was declared in the areas they controlled in Northern Syria.Yousef said the decision to set up a federal government was in large part driven by the expansion of territories captured from Islamic State: "Now, after the liberation of many areas, it requires us to go to a wider and more comprehensive system that can embrace all the developments in the area, that will also give rights to all the groups to represent themselves and to form their own administrations." In July 2016, a draft for the new constitution was presented, based on the principles of the 2014 constitution, mentioning all ethnic groups living in Northern Syria and addressing their cultural, political and linguistic rights.Kurdish settlement in Syria goes back to before the Crusades of the 11th century.A number of Kurdish military and feudal settlements from before this period have been found in Syria.