Turkey and Russia Broker “Safe Zones” in Syria for the Internally Displaced

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SyriaSyria is now known to be in the sixth year of the bloody conflict ripping across its territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan have met to discuss an initiative by the Kremlin to create safe zones in Syria for the internally displaced.

The Syrian foreign Ministry has said in an official statement that the government of President Bashar Al Assad supported this proposal. Under such an agreement Russia and the Damascus based Regime will halt flights by their fighter jets in respect of the cease fire.

The announcement came as Syrian rebels and representatives of the Assad regime met in Astana, Capital of Kazakhstan. They were resuming talks for another cease fire after the so-called opposition announced they temporarily were pulling out of peace talks on Wednesday. So what happened to change their minds? According to the rebels in an official statement they said they had received new guarantees from the guarantor countries involved. Those guarantor countries are Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The subject of the latest round of talks is the Russian proposal to establish safe zones. This is an attempt by Moscow to establish “De-escalation Zones”. Their main goal in doing so is to protect what remains of Syria’s territorial integrity so as to have a buffer against ISIL. At the moment the militant group has lost significant territory to Kurdish freedom fighters that support the opposition and its capital Raqqa.

One thing to remember about the militant group known as ISIL is that not all its fighters are out to kill civillians. In fact some of its high command are former members of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime and the Iraqi military that was disbanded following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.This is something US President Donald Trump should keep in mind following his decision to order an air strike on Syrian forces. Any attempt to destabilise his regime will pave the way for those loyal to him to join the group for their own ulterior motives.

But knowing the influence the Neo-conservatives from the era of George W Bush have on his administration, we should be very careful when dealing with his kind of people. Meanwhile in Syria itself things are from stable. A large explosion in a northern town along the border with Turkey had killed four people and wounded many others. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the death toll in the town of Azaz is likely to rise.

This clearly shows that Syria has a lot of ground work to cover as a country that has been rocked by internal chaos and violence. Its only salvation is to retain the current regime in power while it rebuilds itself and becomes strong again for the people to live there.


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