Al-Monitor | : Turkey’s plans to create a buffer zone in northern Syria after the United States withdraws its forces suffered a setback on Thursday, when Russia and Iran said at a summit that any such zone would require the approval of their ally, Damascus.
At their tripartite meeting in the Russian city of Sochi, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian and Iranian counterparts welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out American troops fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, with Vladimir Putin calling it “a positive step.”
But Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani argued that the area the US troops vacate must be returned to President Bashar al-Assad. “The only correct solution will be to transfer those territories under the Syrian government’s control,” Putin said.
For his part, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s aim to establish a “safe zone” south of its border to rid the area of a Syrian Kurdish militia it views as a threat to its national security. But its capacity to do so without backing from the other countries with forces on the ground in Syria is highly uncertain.