Turkish officials have been harping about the creation of a “buffer zone” in northern Syria for quite some time, and that hasn’t stopped. The idea is to militarily occupy part of northern Syria, and herd the Syrian refugees that have flocked to Turkey into that area instead.
While on the one hand couched as a “humanitarian corridor,” officials have also presented it as a place the Syrian rebels could operate with impunity, as a way to further destabilize the Assad government. It’s a plan rife with problems which would create an open-ended ground occupation in the region.
The good news is that Turkey isn’t on the verge of trying to do this unilaterally, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying that it is “unrealistic” to expect Turkey to launch a unilateral ground operation into Syria.
France has endorsed the idea of a buffer zone, but the Hollande government has not committed troops to actually creating it, nor does it seem likely that any other nation is going to step up with boots on the ground for Turkey’s plan. So long as the Turkish position remains that they don’t want to have to create this buffer zone by themselves, the plan itself seems unlikely to be followed through on.
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