US says that safe zone in Syria aims to protect SDF and prevent Turkey from attacking Syria

Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Hasan Borhan | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Farah Nassif 🕔 Publication Date: January 14, 2019, 7:53:28 PM wire INTERNATIONALMILITARY USA

Turkey - SMART

In a news meeting in Riyadh on Monday, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US’ proposal to establish a safe zone in Northeastern Syria aims to prevent Turkey from attacking Syria and to protect the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that fought the Islamic State (IS).

Pompeo added that if they manage to establish a safe zone and make the security arrangements properly, that would be a good thing for everyone there.

The SDF, backed by the US-led International Coalition, continues to fight the IS in eastern Deir al-Zor and tries to expel it from its last area in the governorate after advancing in the IS-controlled areas and gaining control of the entire border with Iraq.

Earlier on Monday, the US President Donald Trump said that they would establish a 20-mile safe zone and they do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey is not opposed to the US suggestion to establish a safe zone in Northeastern Syria.

Pompeo added that Trump’s threat to devastate Turkey economically if it attacks the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates River would not change US’ plans to withdraw troops from Syria.

Pompeo said, “I don’t think it changes the president’s decision for our 2,000 uniformed personnel to depart Syria.”

On Monday, Trump threatened to devastate Turkey's economy if it attacks the Kurds in Syria. However, Turkey said that it does not fear US’ threats.

Turkey plans to launch a military attack against the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which is considered an extension to the "terrorist" PKK, according to Turkey. Last Friday, the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar stated that Turkey is preparing for a counter-terrorism military operation in areas east of the Euphrates River, while the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had completed its preparations for a military operation.

The US and Turkish statements came amidst US’ attempts to reassure and urge Turkey to cancel its military operation and to protect the YPG before withdrawing from Syria.

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Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Hasan Borhan | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Farah Nassif 🕔 Publication Date: January 14, 2019, 7:53:28 PM wire INTERNATIONALMILITARY USA
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