Commenting on Ankara’s military offensive in northern Syria, a Turkish opposition leader has said Syria as a whole should be a “safe zone.”
İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener questioned the ceasefire deal that was reached between Ankara and Washington, saying the details of the planned “safe zone” remain unclear.
“Who will control the safe zone and how? Are we going to collect the weapons given to terrorists or will those who gave them take them back?” Akşener asked during her speech at her party’s parliamentary group meeting on Oct. 22, referring to militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), regarded by Turkey as a terrorist group.
Turkey launched its long-sought military offensive called Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria on Oct. 9 with the aims of clearing its border from the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and carving out a safe zone for the return of Syrian refugees.
Tensions between Turkey and the U.S. were high last week, with the latter urging Ankara to stop its incursion, even though the offensive was made possible following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from the area.
Washington and Ankara reached a 120-hour-long ceasefire agreement on Oct. 17, which foresaw YPG militants withdrawing from the planned “safe zone” area.
During her party’s weekly meeting, Akşener argued the deal failed to answer all questions.
“What kind of contact and cooperation will be established with Damascus? These issues need to be clarified as soon as possible. I would like to stress once again that the safe zone should actually apply to Syria as a whole” she said.
“The main condition for the stability of the region is Syria’s territorial and political integrity. We need to do what’s necessary for that,” Akşener added.