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Syrian Safe Zone Option Becoming Increasingly ‘Acceptable’ - Turkish Minister

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Situation in Syria - Sputnik International
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The Turkish proposal to establish a safe zone or no-fly zone in Syria is an option that is becoming more popular, Turkey's Minister of European Union Affairs Volkan Bozkir told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — On August 24, Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area of the Daesh jihadist group.

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"Turkey has always said, let’s have a secure zone there [in Syria] with no-fly zone support," Bozkir said on Friday. "Now we are seeing some signs that this no-fly zone, secure zone [idea] is being thought more acceptable, so I hope it goes on."

Bozkir cited the recent liberation of the Syrian-Turkish border town of Jarabulus from Daesh forces as an example of a safe area that can be "enlarged." The Turkish politician further noted that a broader safe zone in Syria could house refugees seeking to return to their country.

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"If we can have even a small secure zone where we can build small towns with hospitals, schools and living facilities, then these people, from Turkey or from Europe or from other parts of Syria, may seek for safe haven there," Bozkir said. "That picture will be a very important element to build a new Syria."

The United Nations has registered more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees, with more than 2.7 million currently residing in Turkey.

Earlier in September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed the creation of a Syrian no-fly zone to both Russia and the United States, according to Turkish media reports. Both US and Russian officials have previously expressed skepticism toward Turkey’s no-fly zone or safe zone proposal.

On Thursday, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US administration was reconsidering its options for handling the Syria crisis, as talks with Russia on a ceasefire and political transition are on the verge of collapse.

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