ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that he welcomed a German proposal for further international involvement in a Turkish-Russian safe zone in northern Syria.
Earlier in the week, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer suggested the creation of an “internationally-controlled security zone” in northern Syria following Turkey’s military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said the move would “stabilize the region” and help civilians return to their homes voluntarily.
At a two-day NATO meeting, which concluded on Friday, the German defense minister presented her proposal, which she said should be “ideally” mandated by the United Nations.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Stoltenberg welcomed the initiative but said there is still “some work to be done to collect the necessary political support.”
“The present situation in northern Syria is not sustainable and in the international community has the responsibility to try to address all the challenges that we see,” he stated.
“Therefore, I welcome the initiative and idea about how we can do it in a coordinated way as an international community.”
Following a six-hour-long meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded an agreement on the future of northern Syria.
The agreement meets Ankara’s demand for a 30-kilometer buffer zone along almost the entirety of its border with Syria.
The agreement also calls for moving the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) military leadership, 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border.
Turkey’s incursion in northern Syria against Syrian Kurdish forces began on Oct. 9. The offensive has left at least 235 people dead and displaced over 300,000 others, according to Syrian Kurdish officials.