Turkey Reportedly Plans to Establish Joint ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria, Iraq
According to the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, taking the city of Manbij in northern Aleppo Governorate will be the first step in creating this security zone, which will extend through Idlib, al-Bab and A’zaz in the north-west of Syria, before later being extended through currently Kurdish held territory east of the Euphrates and in northern Iraq.
Turkey plans to establish a joint security corridor within Syria and Iraq along its southern border, stretching to the border with Iran, according to the newspaper Yeni Safak.
The planned security zone will be up to 30-40 km wide.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu endorsed a roadmap to ensure stability in Manbij.
Mevlut Cavusoglu said the roadmap would include three stages and stipulated that the YPG troops lay down their weapons. The Foreign Minister added that the framework of cooperation between Ankara and Washington used in Manbij could later be used in other regions of northern Syria.
US-Turkish relations have suffered a setback amid Ankara’s concerns over US support for the YPG, which is viewed by the Turkish authorities as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey.
Ankara has repeatedly accused Washington of failing to fulfill its promises regarding the withdrawal of the YPG, who seized Manbij from the Daesh terrorist group in June 2016.