Ankara will continue talks with Moscow concerning the establishment of a security zone in northern Syria, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said at a briefing on Friday.
“We have been for a long time pointing to the need to create a buffer zone to ensure the security of refugees but our initiative was not supported,” he noted. “We will continue to maintain contacts on the issue with our Russian partners. Presidents Erdogan and Putin will discuss it in Russia on January 23,” he added.
According to Aksoy, Ankara also “continues technical talks with Washington on the issue, which involve military and civilian officials.” “A delegation from the Turkish Foreign Ministry headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will discuss this issue with US colleagues in Washington on February 5,” he said.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to create a buffer zone in northern Syria following a conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump on Tuesday. According to Erdogan, Turkey is ready to ensure security on the ground, while the United States is supposed to be responsible for the airspace.
However, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said later that if a buffer zone was established, Ankara would have control of it.
The idea of creating a buffer zone emerged in 2013, when one of the possible options was to declare a no-fly zone and set up a security zone in Syria to provide safety to refugees. Ankara has been reiterating the idea ever since, but it has not been implemented yet due to various reasons.