Aldar Khalil, senior official in TEV-DEM, northern Syria. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish administration in northern Syria will not accept a Turkish role in a safe zone over their areas, but would be open to such a scheme being controlled by an uninterested country or organization, said an official.
"We can accept a safe zone in the following form – if it is a safe zone under the administration of the United Nations, the Coalition, and uninterested countries," said Aldar Khalil, head of the foreign relations department of the ruling TEV-DEM coalition in Rojava, in an interview with Hawar News published on Tuesday.
They will not accept Turkey as a guarantor because that is the country making the threats, he added.
US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have both floated the idea of a safe zone in northern Syria as a solution to prevent a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish forces in the area. Ankara alleges that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are a terror organization and a threat to Turkey. The YPG denies the charge and says Turkey is the aggressor.
Trump and Erdogan discussed
the proposal in a phone call on Monday, after Trump tweeted about it.
Khalil said they are still trying to figure out what exactly Trump and Erdogan envision for this safe zone.
"If it refers to a zone providing safety from Turkish threats, then we say okay as something right is being done," Khalil told Hawar News.
Turkey wants a safe zone going 32 kilometres (20 miles) into northern Syria and running the length of the border.
Khalil said that if the proposed zone targets or pushes the YPG and its sister force the YPJ, “protectors of the region,” then they would reject it.
The Americans haven't made things clear, he said.
"If the Americans say it is true, that it is a safe zone under Turkish control, then we will undoubtedly not accept that," Khalil vowed.
Trump regularly makes policy announcements on Twitter that leave even his closest advisors stumped
Turkey wants to be in control of the safe zone as part of its “fight against terrorism and terror groups,” Erdogan’s aide Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday.