Erdogan proposes 'safe zone' for refugees in Syria

Orient Net 2019-09-25 06:24:00

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An expanded “safe zone” in northern Syria could include as many as 3 million people and stretch for 50 miles as far as Raqqa, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, proposed at the UN general assembly as he pressed his case to speed up the resettlement of Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

His idea, viewed as controversial with Kurds in northern Syria and seen by them as a Turkish landgrab, was his main proposal in a speech projecting Erdogan as a spokesman for Muslims across the world.

He told the UN: “If this safe zone can be declared, we can resettle confidently somewhere between 1 to 2 million refugees. Whether with the US or the coalition forces, Russia and Iran (regime), we can walk shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand so refugees can resettle, saving them from tent camps and container camps.”

He said he was hoping to establish a corridor with an initial depth of 30km (18 miles) and a length of 480km, enabling the settlement of up to 2 million Syrians, adding that “if we can extend the depth of this safe zone to a Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor line, we can increase the number of Syrians who will return from Turkey, Europe and other parts of the world”.

He said such an expanded zone could contain as many as 3 million people, claiming that as many as 500,000 Syrians had been born in Turkey in the last seven years.

Erdogan said the plan required an international UN-led donor conference with countries currently housing Syrian refugees, especially Jordan and Lebanon, providing financial help for those returning to safe areas.

The report is based on The Guardian