Turkey, SDF will not be part of northeastern Syria’s safe zone - AA

The Turkish military and mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will not be involved in the establishment of a safe zone in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border, a Pentagon official told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

The statement from the official, who chose to remain anonymous, arrives following the announcement from the U.S. Defence Ministry on Friday that it would leave around 400 U.S. soldiers in the region, back-pedalling from a December announcement that all U.S. troops would be fully withdrawn from the war-torn country.

“U.S. forces numbering a couple hundred will remain in northeast Syria as part of a multinational force,” Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson said on Friday, adding the U.S. is looking at the “safe zone along the Turkish border.”

Two hundred American troops will remain in northeast Syria and another 200 at the al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year gave Turkey the green light to set up a 500 km long and 32 km wide safe zone in the north of neighbouring Syria. 

Turkey has pushed for the creation of a buffer zone on its border since the onset of civil war in neighbouring Syria in order to protect refugees and prevent the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region.

Syrian Kurdish authorities, for their part, affirmed they will support the creation of a buffer zone if established and run by the United Nations or the U.S.-led coalition.

"The multinational observing and monitoring force will be made up primarily of NATO allies, who along with U.S. forces will maintain stability and prevent an ISIS resurgence in Syria," Robertson added, using another term for Daesh, AA reported.