The White House has once again reiterated that the Turkish plan to impose a no-fly zone over Syria is “not on the table at this point,” following a week of Syrian airstrikes against the same rebels that the US and its allies are attacking.
There is still “active consideration” of the imposition of a buffer zone in northern Syria, however, one of the other ideas being pushed by Turkey. No specific plan has been endorsed yet, but there are several different proposals from Turkey on the matter, according to the State Department.
The buffer zone has been discussed for years. From the Turkish perspective it is primarily the carving out of some territory inside Syria to house refugees that are otherwise flocking to Turkey and other nations by the millions. Other nations have suggested the buffer zones could also be used as staging grounds for pro-US rebel factions, which seems to defeat the purpose of making them combat-free zones for refugees.
It is noteworthy that this plan, the more aggressive of the two, is being considered while no-fly zones are not. This may reflect the US desire to see Syria continue its own air war against ISIS, despite public denials that they are working with the Assad government.