State Dept: No Viable Option to Establish Syria ‘Safe Zone’

Trying Would Take Resources Away From War

According to US State Department official Ambassador Anne Patterson, the US is more or less ditching the promised deal with Turkey to establish a “safe zone” in northern Syria, saying repeated study has left them convinced there is no viable way to actually do this.

Turkey was pushing for the “safe zone” for years, as an alternative place to house Syrian refugees instead of inside Turkey itself. In July, the nations announced an agreement, but offered no details on how it would happen. Ultimately, it seems like it won’t happen at all.

Patterson suggested the biggest obstacle to the plan was the “massive, massive amount of air support” they’d need to create such a safe zone, saying that committing so much of the military to that would ultimately mean fewer resources for attacking ISIS.

The safe zone plan that was announced, though light on details, involved seizing about 60 miles from northern Aleppo Province border region. Al-Qaeda willingly ceded some territory for this planned zone, which the US insisted would house not just civilians but some unnamed pro-US rebel blocs.

Turkey has not spoken on the abandonment on the strategy, but neither nation had talked about the safe zone in months, so this was likely abandoned awhile ago and only just now been confirmed to the public.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.