Turkey maps out 'safe zones' in Syria

Safe havens should be built along the Turkish border in northern Aleppo, Idlib, northern Latakia, Hasakah, Jarablus and Kobani, Turkish premier says

Turkey maps out 'safe zones' in Syria


Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reiterated Turkey's demand for a safe haven for refugees along the Syrian-Turkish border as well as other regions, including Idlib, Latakia and Kobani.

"It must be in the north of Aleppo as it has been under threat from both Assad regime and the ISIL militants," Davutoglu said in a late night interview with Al Jazeera Arabic TV Wednesday.

Turkey has been pushing 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 Kobani have been fleeing into Turkey since mid-September when their homes came under attack by ISIL militants.

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

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

Davutoglu said that the international legitimacy of the safe zone could only be strengthened with UN approval.

"We have been waiting for a UN resolution for the past three and a half years, and it has not been possible due to certain vetoes. Perhaps, an international coalition on intervention in Syria could take some decisions and provide aerial protection," he said.


- Unilateral intervention by Turkey ruled out


Despite the parliamentary approval, Davutoglu ruled out any unilateral intervention by Turkish troops saying that "it would do more harm than good" and would not yield a final settlement to the overall crisis in Syria.

"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.

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

"What we emphasize here is that no matter which strategy is conducted, it must be applied to all of Syria; it must neither be temporary, nor uni-dimensional or restricted to certain regions," he added.

Turkey has repeatedly said the fight against ISIL requires a comprehensive strategy and it has demanded the removal of the Assad regime in Syria which, according to Ankara, is part of a comprehensive solution needed to defeat ISIL.

In fact, Turkey has requested a no-fly zone in Syria since 2012 from the UN.

Even during his visit to UN General Assembly last September, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also highlighted the need for a no-fly zone and a safe zone in Syria.

Erdogan had reiterated Turkey's request to form a no-fly zone over Syria to stop the mounting humanitarian crisis of thousands of Syrians fleeing the conflict into Turkey. 


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