Damascus: Damascus said on Thursday it strongly rejects a proposed U.S.-Turkish buffer zone for northern Syria, blaming the “aggressive” project on Syria’s Kurds, who gave the proposal a guarded welcome.
Turkish and U.S. officials agreed on Wednesday to establish a joint operations centre to oversee the creation of a safe zone to manage tensions between Ankara and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.
No details were provided on the size or nature of the safe zone, but the deal appeared to provide some breathing room after Turkey had threatened an imminent attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which control a large swathe of northern Syria.
“Syria clearly rejects the agreement between the American and Turkish occupiers on the establishment of a so-called safe zone” in northern Syria, a foreign ministry source told State news agency SANA.
“Syria’s Kurds who have accepted to become a tool in this aggressive U.S.-Turkish project bear a historical responsibility,” the source added, urging Kurdish groups to return to the fold.
Turkey has already carried out two cross-border offensives into Syria in 2016 and 2018, the second of which saw it and allied Syrian rebels overrun the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in the northwest. Damascus said the planned buffer zone further east serves “Turkey’s expansionist ambitions”.