Syrian Rebels Condemn Safe Zones as ‘Illegitimate’

Clashes Reported in Hama as Safe Zones Take Effect

The Saudi backed High Negotiations Committee of Syrian rebels today angrily condemned the agreement to establish safe zones for civilians in Syria, insisting that the plan was “illegitimate” and meant to “partition the country” with the establishm4ent of demilitarized areas.

This opposition echoes complaints from other rebel factions yesterday when the plan was initially announced. The US nominally supports the safe zones, though they have insisted they will not respect them if they decide they want to carry out attacks in those areas.

Fight around the safe zones has mostly been reduced since they went into effect overnight, though there was some report of fighting near a safe zone in Hama Province, with rebels and the Syrian military contesting a village. The rebels insisted the Syrian military was to blame for the fighting.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey are all serving as guarantors of the safe zones, which puts substantial pressure on the Syrian government to respect them, as well as on the Turkish-backed subset of rebels. The Saudi-backed rebels, however, are expected to ignore it outright.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.