Ankara outlines border of possible ‘safe zone’ inside Syria

Ankara outlines border of possible ‘safe zone’ inside Syria

While Turkey's role in the US-led coalition's efforts against ISIL remains under discussion, the safe zone's borders in Syria begin to emerge

News Service

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu outlined the locations of a possible safe zone near Syria’s border with Turkey. Davutoglu clarified the area by drawing a line stretching from the Mediterranean coast of Syria to Al Qamishli in Iraq.

Turkey has been pressing the international community, including the UN, to establish a no-fly zone and a safe haven for refugees inside Syria near the Turkish border.

Thousands of civilians from the Syrian border town of Kobane have been fleeing into Turkey since mid-September when their homes came under attack by ISIL militants.

 "It must be in the north of Aleppo, as it has been under threat from both the regime and the ISIL militants," he said.

 Davutoglu said the safe havens must also involve regions in Idlib near the border with Turkey, northern Latakia, Hasakah, Jarablus and Kobane.

 “The buffer zone we mean here is not a military definition, but a humanitarian safe zone under military protection,” Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu underlined that the safe zones should protect "areas with populations over a certain density,“ and continued, "the depth of the safe zone could change according to varying humanitarian situations in these areas."

The prime minister said the international coalition could provide a safe zone like it did in the past during the First Gulf War in the 90s, which protected civilians from Saddam Hussain's attacks.

Turkey prefers the UN Security Council to determine the areas to be designated as safe havens in Syria. Davutoglu said that Turkey would not take the risk of intervention alone.

 "It should be an area under international guarantee so that the Syrian people feel secure from air and land offensives," he added.

 As Turkey's PM outlined the safe zone, he also criticized the various international opinions on the Syria situation.The International community and national political groups called on Ankara to intervene militarily in Syria to save Kobane and criticized Ankara’s position of only doing humanitarian aid services.

 Referring to the international request, Davutoglu said, “The fall of Ayn-al Arab (Kobane) could really sadden us, and we will do everything to stop it, but where were they when Raqqa [the stronghold of ISIL] fell? Where were they when Jarabulus, Mosul fell?”

 "If you demand Turkey to intervene alone in Syria in the absence of such a zone, it means you want Turkey to take the entire burden on its own."

He said Turkey believed an intervention by only one side in the region "will do more harm than good."

 Davutoglu instead called for an “all-inclusive intervention” together with all international community members not only to save Kobane, but also against "all atrocities and villains in Syria."

 However, the Syrian foreign ministry on October 15, rejected the establishment of such buffer zones in any part of its territory under any pretext.


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