Jan 02 2019

Senior German politician urges creation of UN buffer zone for Syria’s Kurds

A UN buffer zone should be created to protect Syria’s Kurds from a Turkish offensive, the chair of the German parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday.

France and Germany could propose the idea of a buffer zone at a UN Security Council meeting, Roderich Kiesewetter of Germany’ ruling Christian Democratic (CDU) party told German media outlet Deutschlandfunk.

The proposal follows an announcement by Ankara in December of a third military operation over its border into neighbouring Syria targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it designates a terrorist organisation. 

Noting that Turkey should not be allowed to launch an offensive, Kiesewetter said, “In 2016 they [Turkey] had ‘Euphrates shield,’ in the year 2018 the ‘Operation Olive Branch,’ an illegal international occupation of northern Syria. Now it must not come to a third offensive of Turkey in Syria… We need a sanctuary, and the United Nations could do that for the Kurds of northern Syria, under UN influence.”

A German Bundestag committee report last month stated that Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria constitutes an occupying power.

Kiesewetter stressed that France, which will begin presiding over the Security Council in March 2019, followed by Germany in April can facilitate a ‘’unified way out of the crisis.’’

The chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee noted that Donald Trump’s decision announced on Dec. 19 to fully withdraw U.S. troops from Syria would make Russia, Iran, and Turkey the dominant powers in the region, which, ‘’cannot be in the West’s interest right now.”

The withdrawal of U.S. troops has left Kurdish militants vulnerable to a Turkish offensive. The Syrian army said it deployed forces to Syrian town of Manbij on Friday, after the Kurdish YPG militia urged Damascus to protect the Kurdish held town rom the threat of a major Turkish offensive.