Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Turkey mulls last-ditch US Syrian safe zone plan as military offensive looms

Islamic State EXCLUSIVE – Defense Sources Turkey Aiding Islamic State Resurgence After Trump Devastated Caliphate 45APAaron Klein4 Aug 2019
Patty Aguilar | 05 August, 2019, 22:27

Turkey's defense minister tweeted that a new round of talks had begun with the US military about creating a Turkish-controlled safe zone inside Syria east of the Euphrates River, which would have no Syrian Kurdish forces within 19-25 miles of the border.

"We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab [in northern Syria], and now we're going to enter east of the Euphrates", Erdogan told an inauguration ceremony in Bursa.

The US says discussions with Turkey on establishing a safe zone are continuing.

"We shared this [information] with the USA and Russian Federation", he added.

American troops are stationed in northeastern Syria along with the Kurdish forces, and have fought the Islamic State group together.

It would be the third Turkish incursion into Syria in as many years.

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The plan suggests Turkey and the United States would dismantle YPG fortifications in the area and conduct joint patrols, initially in the middle third of the zone that runs along the Turkish border. "We resume our military operations against terrorist organizations", the military in Damascus said.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has accused Turkey of dragging its feet in implementing the deal, which provided for a buffer zone of up to 20 kilometres (12 miles) between the two sides, free of heavy and medium-sized weaponry.

For many Christians and ethnic minorities, this would mean disaster. The Syrian conflict has killed more than 370,000 people and driven millions from their homes since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

The forces displaced hundreds of thousands while searching for Christians and burning churches.

For months Turkish leaders have said an Eastern Euphrates campaign is coming, due to the continued presence of PKK/YPG terrorists in the region, near the Turkish border, and the security threat they pose. "Now is the time for Christian, Western countries, and for Christian churches and believers worldwide, to protect our Christian people in NE Syria from falling victim to brutal war, dictatorship, fascism, and radicalism", the Syriac Military Council (MFS) said in a statement.

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