AUTHORITIES in northern Syria hailed the first votes cast yesterday in what they call a first step toward Kurdish autonomy in the disputed region.
Voters were deciding on leaders across 3,700 communes where Kurdish groups have held sway in some cases since 2011 when the Syrian civil war began.
The dominant groups in the region are centred around the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which says the poll is part of a three-phase process to secure autonomy as part of a decentralised Syria.
However, the organisation is not recognised by the Syrian government, Turkey or by the United States.
The vote comes ahead of a separate independence referendum which is being held in northern Iraq on Monday.