US-Backed Kurds Would Support Syria Safe Zone With ‘International Guarantees’

Kurdish officials had previously spurned idea as 'occupation'

One day after Syrian Kurdish officials rejected the US-proposed idea of a Syrian safe zone spanning their border with Turkey, calling it “tantamount to occupation,” another statement has been issued offering to endorse the idea, and even help the US establish such a zone.

The conditions, however, make this a distinction without a difference. The SDF says that they will only accept the zone if it comes with “international guarantees that would prevent foreign intervention.”

In reality, no such guarantees are on offer, and quite the opposite. The whole reason Turkey is endorsing the US proposal is because it was sold to them as a 20-mile wide demilitarized region in which the Kurdish forces would not be able to operate while Turkey carries out its invasion of Syrian Kurdistan.

The Trump Administration’s attempt to find a middle ground to placate both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds has always been a nigh-impossible task. The issue is that Turkey’s goal has always been to invade this region and wipe out the Kurdish YPG, and the YPG’s goal has always been to prevent a Turkish invasion. Both sides have always tried to interpret US proposals as granting their demand with some caveat, though of course both cannot be met at the same time.

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.