President Trump had been an outspoken supporter of the “safe zone” idea in Syria, as championed by Turkey. Now that Russia and Iran are on board with the idea, however, US support was tepid, at best, with most of their official statement on the idea amounting to a condemnations for Iran.
The rebels, who had long been backing the push when it was just Turkey’s idea, are also condemning it now, insisting that safe zones are a “threat to the country’s territorial integrity,” and also that they really don’t like Iran or Russia in general.
A lot of this reflects that the safe zones as they now exist are very different from Turkey’s initial scheme, which was to set up “safe zones” no one was allowed to attack, and then use them as rebel bases, in addition to filling them up with refugees. Instead, the safe zones are now going to be between warring factions, intended to prevent ceasefire violations.
And since the US was never a big fan of the ceasefire, it follows that they aren’t a big fan of anything that supports the ceasefire either. And while the Trump Administration is uncomfortable flip-flopping on the safe zones entirely, they were keen to make the decision mostly an anti-Iran statement.
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