President Trump is considering an executive order that would give the State Department and Pentagon 90 days to give him a plan to establish safe zones in Syria. Trump has insisted that the US will “absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people.”
Syrian rebels expressed some general support for the idea of a safe zone, but also appeared skeptical anything would come of the announcement, insisting that they are still waiting for the US to take action, after years of being disappointed expecting US measures in their favor.
The Syrian government hasn’t commented at all on the matter, but Russian officials were critical of the idea, saying it would “exacerbate the situation” in Syria, and that the US needs to weigh all the potential consequences before taking such actions.
Russian officials insisted they were never consulted on the idea of a safe zone, though that may reflect how early in the planning stages this is, since Trump is only seeking plans for doing so, and not actually announcing the safe zones yet, beyond vague intentions to eventually do so.
Previous discussion of safe zones under the Obama Administration were largely rejected over concerns about the large military force the US would need to commit to defend such zones, as well as the risk of starting wars with a limited no-fly zone.