Kurdish Politician: Instead of a buffer zone let’s make a security corridor in Northern Syria

The question of who will administer emptied pieces of land in Syria upon the progressive defeat of the Islamic State’s remaining forces has come for once again in public spotlight. Turkey has consistently pressed for the creation of a security buffer zone in northern Syria effectively creating a new borderline with south Turkey and crushing Kurdish authorities’ ambitions for the eventual creation of a Kurdish state in the region.

On Friday, Mrs. Fawza Youssef, a Kurdish politician proposed an alternative plan: the creation of a security corridor, a safe strip from Turkey’s borders extending deep into Syria. This strip would be supervised by already garrisoned international observers in the region. These ideas were disseminated to U.S. officials who look for the best solution to accommodate all stakeholder interests in post-war Syria. The Kurdish authorities also reiterated the need to continue fighting the remaining Islamic State cells, which are temporarily pinned down in the easternmost parts of Syria.

The U.S. decision to progressively withdraw its troops from Syria has created new developments in the soil. The presence of at least 200 U.S. troops in northeast Syria in combination with the presence of roughly 1.500 troops from European countries may act as an impartial force guaranteeing the security of the region. The Kurdish politician put in place the modest counter-proposal of a security corridor justifying her view on two grounds. First of all, the presence of a security buffer in northern Syria has progressively become a redundant option given that most parts in this area have already become safe zones under the control of Syrian Army, Kurdish militias or Turkish forces. Second, the creation of a security buffer zone in northern Syria would effectively signal secession of former Syrian territory – the authority of former Syrian cities enclosed within the zone would be given to Turkish forces.

On the contrary, deployment of a multinational force in the region would not only constitute it a safe zone but also act as an impartial guarantor of the security both of Kurdish populations and Turkish forces. However, Kurdish politicians acknowledge that for this scenario to materialise all parties involved in the conflict must give their explicit approval, including the Syrian government. For his part, U.S. President Donald Trump reassured his Kurdish allies that they would not be left unprotected in Syria.

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