US offers Turkey support to set up safe-zone in exchange for halting clashes with YPG: Report
ISTANBULWashington has made an offer to Ankara in which the United States will permit the establishment of a safe zone – something Turkey has been demanding for years – in exchange for Turkey not fighting Syrian Kurdish forces.
“Turkey can form a security zone as it wishes in Syria. We will also lend all kinds of support. But do not fight with Kurds [in Syria],” daily Cumhuriyet columnist Aslı Aydıntaşbaş quoted U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration as telling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week in Washington, where Erdoğan attended the U.N. General Assembly.
“We will guarantee that the YPG [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit] will not take any more land and will not join its two cantons. And you will recognize the YPG,” said the report, which was published on Oct. 1.
Turkey and the U.S. are at odds over the designation of the YPG, which is the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey sees the YPG and PYD as the offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and designates them as terror organizations, while the U.S. regards them as a reliable partners in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
Turkey has long argued for the need for a “no-fly” or “safe zone” zone along its Syrian border, with the aim of clearing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants from the border and stemming a wave of migration that has fuelled tensions in Europe.
But Western allies have so far balked at the idea, saying it would require a significant ground force and planes to patrol, marking a major commitment in such a crowded battlefield.
Addressing the head of states at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 20, Erdoğan renewed his request for a no-fly zone along the border area between Turkey and Syria.