US-backed forces ready to form international safe zone to protect all ethnic groups
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed, Syrian Kurdish-led forces say they are ready to help form an international-backed safe zone in northern Syria as long as there is no “foreign intervention,” in reference to a possible Turkish incursion.
In a statement on Wednesday, the General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they would “offer all the support and necessary aid to form the safe zone that is being circulated regarding the north and east of Syria.”
The statement said the safe zone would “ensure the protection of all ethnic groups and [protect] them from dangers of extermination through an international guarantee.”
It added that the safe zone would prevent foreign intervention by Turkey through “the protection of the components of the region and… factors of security and stability.”
According to the SDF, it has never posted “an external threat factor against any of the neighboring countries, especially Turkey, with which we hope to reach mutual understandings and solutions which would ensure the continued stability and security in the border regions (with it).”
The SDF statement added that since its establishment they had exerted all efforts to combat terrorism, including against the Islamic State and other radical organizations.
“We have achieved great successes in these difficult and painstaking missions, through work and coordination with our partners in the international coalition led by the United States.”
Different ethnic groups such as Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Assyrians inhabit Syria’s northeast. Moreover, there are also Muslims, Christians, Yezidi’s, and other religious minorities living in the area.
According to the SDF, their primary task is to protect all ethnic components in northeast Syria. “We could almost say that our region is the only region in which all components of Syria coexist,” it stated.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that a 20-mile “safe zone” would be created in northeastern Syria. A day later, his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Ankara would set up a security zone some 30-kilometers (18 miles) deep into northeastern Syria in coordination with Washington.
However, top Syrian Kurdish official Aldar Xelil told ANHA news agency that the Kurdish self-administration would not accept a Turkish-controlled safe zone.
“We would not accept that. We can accept a security area under the auspices of the UN,” but not Ankara, Xelil emphasized.
On Jan. 2, the chair of the German Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee argued that the UN should create a buffer zone to protect Syria’s Kurdish population.
Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, told German media outlet Deutschlandfunk in an interview that France and Germany could propose this idea in a UN Security Council meeting.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Murad, the representative of the self-administration of North and East Syria in Germany, told Kurdistan 24 in early January that the international community should establish a no-fly zone.
“We hope the international states like the US, France, Germany, and the UK will prevent [a Turkish attack] and create a no-fly zone area for the people,” Murad said. “This would help us eradicate ISIS and find a solution to the Syrian conflict.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany