UPDATED 12:34 PM PT — Thursday, January 24, 2019
Turkey said it has the ability to create its own ‘safe zone’ in Syria, but won’t turn the U.S. away if it wants to help. While speaking on television Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his nation is confident it could establish a safe zone, but would welcome U.S. and Russia assistance if the countries offered.
His comments come after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he and President Trump agreed to create a 20-mile deep safe zone along Syria’s northeastern border. Turkey has said the zone will provide security as well as refugee relief.
“There is a humanitarian angle to this, there is an angle concerning migrants — people will return and help will be provided to them,” Cavusoglu explained. “We will assess all the angles of this issue and talk with everybody, and we try to coordinate this matter by talking about everybody’s opinions and and how we can work together.”
Only about 300,000 of the four million Syrian refugees in Turkey have reportedly returned as Turkey reported the cost of hosting them is more than $30 billion a year.
The foreign minister said nothing was certain about the planned zone, but that Ankara and Washington’s views were in line.