Pompeo says efforts underway for safe zone in northern Syria

Pompeo says efforts underway for safe zone in northern Syria

BERLIN-Anadolu Agency
Pompeo says efforts underway for safe zone in northern Syria

The U.S. is planning to set up a safe zone in northern Syria to reduce the risk of terror attacks on Turkey and avoid further tension in the region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 31.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas following their meeting in Berlin, Pompeo underlined that the U.S. will continue to support UN efforts for a political solution in Syria and continue its efforts to reduce risk of violence.

“You've seen the work that we have done with the Turks in Manbij the west of the Euphrates River,” Pompeo said referring to the joint patrols by the U.S. and Turkish troops in the area.

“And we are attempting to set up a system something that can add to that. Call it a buffer zone, call it what you will…That will reduce the risk of terrorists attacking from Syria into Turkey,” he said.

Pompeo underlined that the planned safe zone also intends to prevent further tensions between Turkey and the U.S.-backed groups in the area.

Asked about local media reports that claimed U.S. administration was seeking military support from Germany and other allies for setting up such a safe zone, Pompeo confirmed that the talks were underway between the partners.

“We've committed our forces there … and we've asked our European partners to assist us. As we develop the plans, we'll see what the force requirements would actually look like,” he said.

The activities of the PYD/PKK in northern Syria has been a major security concern for Ankara, while the U.S. administration viewed the group as a “reliable partner” in the fight against ISIL.

Turkish leaders have long warned their U.S. counterparts that one cannot rely on a terrorist organization in the fight against another terrorist group.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.