Mattis: US Still Studying Syria Safe Zones Plan

A tepid statement of support from the US last week on the Syrian safe zones scheme doesn’t mean the US is wholly on board, though according to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the US has been told some of the “general parameters” and are still carefully studying the idea.

The deal was agreed to by the Turkish, Iranian, and Russian government, and the Assad government has said it will respect the zones. The Syrian rebels have ruled out doing so, insisting they won’t trust any deal Iran is involved in. Mattis says the US decision on this depends on a lot of “major details” still unclear.

Russian officials have conceded a lot of details aren’t known, and may not be known for months. The ones Mattis appeared particularly concerned about were enforcement of the zones, and exactly who will be kept out of the safe zones. That later question has an answer, but not one the US likes.

The whole point of the safe zones is to put demilitarized areas between factions fighting one another to try to slow the war, and this would mean effectively that all combatant forces are to be kept out of the zone, including US troops and warplanes.

Russia made this very clear when the zones were first agreed to, that they expect all planes to stay out of the airspace above those areas, and the US has already made clear they don’t intend to respect that. Right now, that’s all highly theoretical, as the extent safe zones aren’t in places the US was attacking in the first place. In the long run, however, US interest in expanding their Syria war, and imposing regime change, may ultimately preclude them agreeing to not attack anyplace.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • Winston Smith

    The name for this is Appeasement, which is what the Russians are doing with Trump.

    There cannot be “Safe Zones”, these are standard to Covert Operations now, and are intended for the paramilitaries to set up shop in and infiltrate. The population there are in considerable danger from the Jihadists and are intended to create chaos and ensure the war continues.

    • the Late Idi Armin

      No more like a strategic hamlet

  • ALEXANDRU Nemoianu

    Mark my words.This Mattis,”mad dog”,would prove to be a class A moron.He like to pose as a Manstein,but he has the brains of a drill sergeant.

    • The Marine Corps doesn’t have drill sergeants. It has drill instructors. And if Manstein had had a few of them to advise him, Kursk might have ended differently.

      • ALEXANDRU Nemoianu

        The fact the Marines have drill “instructors” doesn’t change the point.At Kursk Manstein faced a superior military force and better officers,Russian.Mattis is not in such a league.If that makes you happy he has the imagination of a drill instructor.

  • unam_sanctum

    The safe zones will probably work, then the sponsors of the fake rebels will have to pay them off to stop their senseless murder club. I’m sure they will take their blood money and migrate to Europe or the US.

    • eric

      Yes if your are not a Syrian citizen you can’t be in a Syrian safe zone . You came to Syria to fight . You fight or surrender and be put in your own safe prison

      • In other words, you’re a pro-war commenter on an anti-war site. OK, noted. Next?

  • chris chuba

    And the Russians try for the 100th time to separate the rebels from Al Qaeda. Hopefully it will work this time. I hate the way these ceasefires get spun by the likes of Gen. Jack Keane’s in the U.S.

    • eric

      Al Qaeda Al Nusra and a 100’s of other jihadist Muslim extremist organizations have the same agenda as ISIS . The NWO actually uses and partners with these guys to destroy countries . Trump right now seems to have a hard time making up his mind We better decide which side we are on before we drop to many bombs

  • eric

    Right today it looks more like Trump intends to enforce the New World Oders more than make America great again . This idea has been pursued by many of our past presidents and has made us a lot more enemies that we did not need to make ..

  • eric

    My Judgement would be in Syria If the rebels came from USA Europe Russia or China , Yugoslavia or any foreign country They are Islamic extremists traveling jihadists and need to be kept in prison

  • wars r u.s.

    We threw Tomahawks at Syria within about 72 hours of the gas attack. I guess we only “carefully study” things when it suits our needs. And I can only imagine how Iran being part of ANY deal drives Mattis up a wall.