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Damascus Rejects Erdogan’s Call to Establish Safe Zone in Northern Syria

Damascus Rejects Erdogan’s Call to Establish Safe Zone in Northern Syria

Saturday, 21 May, 2022 - 06:15
A housing complex built for displaced Syrians near the Turkish-held Syrian city of Al-Bab (AFP)

Damascus on Friday rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyeb Erdogan’s call for establishing a safe zone in northern Syria.

These "cheap statements" reveal the "aggressive manipulations plotted by this regime against Syria, and the unity of its territory and people," the Syrian Ministry said.

Damascus’ response came days after Erdogan called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members to support his country's efforts to establish a safe zone on the border with Syria to accommodate refugees and ensure the security of the southern border.

"The Turkish regime continues to be part of the crisis through its conspiracy against Syria and its involvement in the fragmentation project that only favors the goals of Israel, the United States, and the West," the Syrian Ministry stressed.

It said the "despicable bargains" made and carried out by the Turkish regime reveal the lack of the minimum level of political and moral understanding to deal with the crisis in Syria.

The Ministry statement also noted that the creation of such a zone is not intended to protect the border areas between Syria and Turkey. "It is rather colonialism... The so-called safe zone is in fact ethnic cleansing and the creation of an explosive area that helps carry out terrorist plans against the Syrian people."

Syria urged the international community against working with Erdogan on the lands of other countries to achieve "shortsighted" goals that will have "catastrophic" effects on security, peace and stability in the region and the world, the Foreign Ministry added.

Ankara has periodically carried out military strikes on a Kurdish-administered zone in northeastern Syria, where groups it considers terrorists are based.

Erdogan had told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) in parliament on Wednesday that people are settling in safe areas in Syria now, calling on regional and NATO allies to support Turkey to ensure it establishes a safe zone.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish president announced a project to resettle one million Syrian refugees in Turkey in 13 residential communities within the Syrian lands adjacent to his country's southern borders, starting from Azaz in the west to Ras al-Ain in the east.

“We have to address all allies in the region, as well as allies in NATO… So stand with Turkey in the face of these challenges and do not prevent it from moving forward in establishing this safe zone, completing it and ensuring prosperity in it,” Erdogan said.

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