August 14, 2019

Could Turkey use Syria safe zone to remake the area’s demographics?

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: Ahval

Journalist Paul Iddon

Turkey’s track record in Syria suggests it might use a U.S.-backed safe zone planned for Kurdish-majority northeastern Syria to fundamentally reshape the region’s demographic makeup, though Washington would likely stand in its way.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has for months threatened to launch a cross-border military operation to drive out the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the area, saying the Syrian Kurdish force is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast for more than three decades.

Turkey’s offensive into northeast Syria has so far been blocked by the United States, which armed, trained and backed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), largely made up of YPG fighters, to help it defeat Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. But Turkey and the United States last week agreed to establish a joint operations centre to oversee a safe zone in Syria. Details of the deal have not been revealed, but most observers believe differences remain over safe zone size and which troops would patrol it.

Read the full article and more in Ahval.

Authors

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. His work focuses on the analysis of complex confli...