President Erdoğan: Turkey to set up 5,000 sq km safe zone in Syria
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAOct 03, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Oct 03, 2016 12:00 am
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that Turkey aims to set up a 5,000-square-kilometer safe zone in Syria. Speaking at the opening ceremony of Parliament's legislative year, President Erdoğan said one of Turkey's aims with Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria is to set up a safe zone that will be cleared of all of the terrorist elements. "The problem of terrorism and the refugee problem will be resolved when we secure Syrian soils step by step," Erdoğan said. Reminding that when Turkey backed the moderate opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces that liberated Jerablus from under Daish rule, the population of the town was around 2,000 and with the new returns this figure has reached 40,000.
Underlining that even though Turkey has been suggesting a safe zone project for years, this project did not get support from any other countries and Erdoğan added that the efforts to set up the safe zone along Turkey's southern borders forced Turkey to implement it with its own resources. "The efforts to build a terror corridor alongside the Syrian border and intensified terrorist actions of the PKK and Daish inside of our country forced us to take the necessary measures to implement this project by ourselves," Erdoğan said.
Earlier last month President Erdoğan announced he had urged world powers at a G20 meeting to set up a "safe zone" in Syria where there would be no fighting and that could help stem migrant flows from the Arab nation. Erdoğan said on Sept. 5 he had repeated a proposal for a "no-fly zone" in Syria during his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama. "A no-fly zone could be set up there, and that was my suggestion to both Obama and Putin. This could be achieved with the coalition forces. We are in an effort to take this step," he told a news conference in China during the G20 summit.