Turkish Call for Syria Safe Zone Criticized

Turkish Call for Syria Safe Zone CriticizedTurkish Call for Syria Safe Zone Criticized

New Turkish efforts for creating a safe no-fly zone in northern Syria are meant to save foreign-backed militants and turn the tide of their battle with the Syrian Army to bring down the government, said a lawmaker.

The conflict in Syria started nearly six years ago and since then, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in the Arab country. Masoud Goudarzi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement on Monday, referring to a Sunday announcement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he wanted a "terror-free safe zone" in north of Syria and that he will raise the issue with US president-elect, Donald Trump, after his January 20 inauguration.

"I openly declare that Ankara will create a security zone in northern Syria and will not allow a terrorist statehood in the area," Erdogan said, claiming that without such a zone, major Turkish cities near the Syrian border will be under terrorism threats.

Goudarzi told ICANA that the liberation of Aleppo has opened a new chapter that led to the defeat of the opponents of Syrian government and it is being considered a "big loss" by Turkish leaders.

"[To compensate for the loss] Turkey should either take a physical action or make political maneuvers. It cannot take the military one," Goudarzi said.

The Syrian military announced last Thursday that it had attained full control over Aleppo, the second biggest Syrian city and most populous before the conflict, after a major months-long operation led to the encirclement of militants in a small pocket in the city's east.

Fighters, including members of Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra front (recently rebranded to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), were evacuated to militant-held Idlib Province under a deal brokered by Russia and Turkey. In late August, Turkish forces and some Syrian militants began a military operation dubbed the Euphrates Shield that Turkey said was aimed at taking the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and surrounding areas from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

After taking Jarabulus, Turkish-backed forces continued the offensive southwest and have now encircled Al-Bab. The operation has been widely criticized by Damascus, which accuses Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.


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