“Safety Zones” Await Syria

Translated by Ollie Richardson




The proposal of the U.S. President Donald Trump on the creation of “safety zones” in Syria can improve the situation in the country. But for this purpose it is necessary to consider the experience of Russia, which has been working in this direction for a long time, and also to discuss the matter with the Syrian authorities. Izvestia was told this by the Federation Council. In turn, the Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov emphasized: it is important that it doesn’t aggravate the situation with refugees in the region.

It is only possible to welcome initiatives connected with the safety of the civilian population in Syria. But there are doubts if any initiatives in this respect will be accepted unilaterally and won’t be coordinated with other countries involved in the settlement of the situation. If Mr Trump has a desire to study this idea with those who now really work in Syria  Russia, Turkey, Iran – and not just in a circle of former allies of the US in the so-called anti-terrorist coalition that was hasty hammered together in due time by Barack Obama, but which has proven nothing, then I don’t exclude the emergence of any viable arrangements. This shows the general logic of the situation. We have to concentrate on the suppression of terrorism and on the safety of peaceful citizens. Trump’s initiative deserves attention, but not in the format in which he stated it, as an exclusively American initiative and aspiration to do something only with troops of the American military,” said the chairman of committee on the international affairs of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev to Izvestia.

The first vice-president of the Committee of the Federation Council on Defense Franz Klinzewitsch, in a conversation with Izvestia, also noted that Donald Trump has touched upon the “correct subject”, however for the realization of an initiative it is necessary to conduct dialogue with Damascus and to consider the experience of Moscow.

The fact that the new U.S. President Donald Trump has begun to speak about the need for the creation of “safety zones” in Syria, causes positive emotions. It would be desirable that all issues concerning Syria were discussed with the legitimate authority of this country and at the same time the interests of all parties are considered. Now it is necessary to speak about cooperation in the settlement of the situation in Syria. The subject raised by Donald Trump is correct, but it is necessary to realize it correctly, taking into account the opinions of the Syrian people and not unilaterally. Russia had been working in this direction for a long time, it is necessary to consider her experience on the matter. Then it is possible to achieve a positive result,” said Franz Klinzewitsch.

Meanwhile, the Russian President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov declared that Washington hasn’t consulted Moscow concerning the creation of “safety zones” in Syria.

No, our American partners haven’t consulted the Russian side. This is a sovereign decision (USA). It is important that it doesn’t aggravate the situation with refugees. Most likely, it is worth accounting for all possible consequences,” emphasised Dmitry Peskov.

In turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry expects the moment when the foreign policy “wing” of the administration of Donald Trump is finally defined. Answering the question on whether there are signals from Washington concerning the Syrian settlement, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova emphasized: “So far we are waiting only for the formation of their team”.

It should noted that the day before the U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview to the ABC TV channel that he is going to establish “safety zones” in Syria.

“I will specifically create “safety zones” for the Syrian people,” declared Donald Trump.

The day prior, the Reuters agency reported that the draft of the presidential decree that regulates its creation had already been prepared.

The State department and the Pentagon have to prepare within 90 days the plan of the creation of “safety zones” in Syria in order so that Syrian citizens fleeing places of full-time residence can expect to return home or be resettled in third countries, quotes Reuters citing the draft document.

Not all of the details of the project are still clear. According to the American media, Donald Trump will shortly make a statement clarifying this matter.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also reacted to the statements of the U.S. President Donald Trump. The press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Hüseyin Müftüoğlu declared that Ankara from the very beginning urged the creation of “safety zones” in Syria.

We saw the U.S. President’s appeal about the creation of “safety zones”. Turkey initially supported this. The results of such an appeal by the President are important,” declared the Turkish diplomat.

According to the political analyst who has worked in the Middle Eastern countries for a long time, the analyst of the Kuwaiti agency Al Rai Elijah Magnier, Washington can send such signals to Moscow in order to outline contours of cooperation.

This statement by Donald Trump calls for dialogue with Russia across Syria. He has repeatedly said that he is ready for cooperation with Moscow across Syria. It’s as if the American president is saying: “I have a potential action plan, let’s discuss the Syrian settlement”. In principle cooperation between the USA and Russia across Syria is possible, in particular concerning the fight against terrorists. However, it appears that Donald Trump isn’t going to completely concede influence to Russia in the Syrian settlement,” said Elijah Magnier to Izvestia.


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