Adding some limited details to the Trump Administration’s calls to establish safe zones in northern Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed today that the subject was discussed during today’s visits with top Turkish officials, and that the discussion included how such zones would be kept secure.
Safe zones were a plan Turkey initially backed as a place to stash Syrian refugees instead of having to absorb them, though there were a lot of doubts about how such a plan would work. Tillerson has become the point man for backing this idea in the Trump Administration, though he has attempted to rebrand them as “stability zones.”
While Tillerson’s comments today still offered no major details, the fact that they discussed security is significant, as it shows that one of the big concerns among analysts is at least being considered by the administration en route to implementing the plan.
Critics have warned the “safe zones” are going to be too complicated and costly to practically implement, and the Turkish government’s designs on using safe zones, nominally for civilians, as a base of operations for rebel groups, also likely is going to make them dangerous for the refugees.
The only real thing that can be gleaned from Tillerson’s conversation with Turkey is that, as expected, the safe zones are probably going to be chiefly in Turkish-occupied parts of northern Syria.