Turkey distant on UN’s buffer zones in Syria plan

Turkey distant on UN’s buffer zones in Syria plan

Turkey distant on UN’s buffer zones in Syria plan

AFP Photo

Turkey remains distant on a United Nations plan to establish buffer zones inside Syria that would be backed with a cease-fire in some particular regions, according to sources who commented on an Ankara meeting between Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu.  

Turkey found the idea well-intentioned, but not possible to implement since the Bashar al-Assad government has failed to keep its promises so far, according to sources. 

Turkey highlighted at the meeting that it was difficult to bring stability to Syria with a plan that also includes al-Assad.

The Syrian opposition would not accept such a plan that would result in a loss of time, sources said.

The July 15 meeting came one week after Sinirlioğlu met with a team headed by U.S. President Barack Obama’s special coordinator in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Gen. John Allen. 

De Mistura thanked Turkey for its acceptance of Syrian refugees, the envoy’s spokeswoman Jessy Chahine said in a statement released from Geneva.

“De Mistura conveyed his appreciation for the substantial effort by Turkey in welcoming and hosting a large number of Syrian refugees,” Chahine said. “The special envoy also stressed the importance of the contribution of the regional countries to a political solution to the Syrian conflict.”

Turkey has taken in 1.8 million of the 4 million refugees who have fled the war-torn nation since violence erupted in 2011, according to the U.N.’s refugee agency.

De Mistura has been holding talks in an attempt to implement the Geneva Communiqué that sets out a six-point plan to stop the violence and move the sides in Syria toward a political settlement.

Earlier, de Mistura had said Turkey had an important role in the region and would participate in Geneva consultations on Syria.

More than 40 Syrian groups, including armed opposition groups, have been invited to attend talks that began in May.

The civil war has led to the deaths of more than 220,000 people.