Syrian Kurdish official: Safe zone must be 'without Turkish fingers'

A Syrian Kurdish official said that he supported a proposed buffer zone along the Turkish border as long as Ankara has no involvement.
author_image Kurdistan 24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Syrian Kurdish official said that he supported a proposed buffer zone along the Turkish border as long as Ankara has no involvement.

Salih Muslim, the former co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Kurdistan 24, "We really need a safe area, but without Turkish fingers."

"We want a safe area with an air embargo," he added. "There must be no role for Turkey."

On Monday, US president Donald Trump tweeted that a 20-mile “safe zone” would be created in northeastern Syria. On the following day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted Turkey would set up a security zone some 30 kilometers (18 miles) deep into northeastern Syria in coordination with the US.

Soon after, a senior official in Damascus was reported by state-run media as having refected Erdogan's plan, saying that Turkey “can’t behave except by the language of occupation or aggression.”

Adding his voice to the others, Syrian Democratic Forces commander Redur Khalil recently told the media, "The security zone sought by Ankara is a military occupation of the region and is categorically rejected by us."

"We have never wanted to oppose Turkey, and our borders have always been safe with us over the past years, but Turkey claims to have concerns from northern and eastern Syria," Khalil said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

"These allegations are not true, and we have expressed our intention to reach understandings with them to dispel them, and we also have concerns from the Turkish side."

Khalil said that his forces "are looking forward to reaching understandings and solutions with them, and believes in the continuation of stability and security in the border areas with them."

Another Syrian Kurdish official, Aldar Xelil, told ANHA news agency that the Kurdish self-administration wouldn't allow a Turkish-controlled buffer zone.

“We would not accept that. We can accept a security area under the auspices of the UN,” but not Ankara, Xelil argued.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in his annual press conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin would tell Erdogan, who is expected to visit Moscow soon, that all of Syria should be under the control of Damascus.

“This will certainly be discussed when president Erdogan arrives for the next rounds of talks with Putin,” he explained. For Moscow, the minister suggested, the establishment of a Turkish-manned safe zone remained out of the question.