US avoids 'safe zone' term in Northern Syria

'We've been very careful not to put monikers or descriptions describing what this area is going to look like,' State Dept. says

US avoids 'safe zone' term in Northern Syria

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. maintained Tuesday that it does not view efforts to clear ISIL from the northern Syrian border as a bid to create a "safe zone."

“We've been very careful not to put monikers or descriptions describing what this area is going to look like except to say our effort is focused on driving ISIL out of the region,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.  

The U.S. and Turkey have reportedly been seeking agreement on a plan to clear ISIL from a section along the northern Syrian border that the militants continue to hold despite setbacks to the east and west of the area. 

Last month, Turkey agreed to allow U.S.-led coalition forces to launch airstrikes against ISIL positions from the Incirlik Air Base located near Turkey’s border with war-torn Syria where ISIL has captured considerable swaths of territory.

Toner stressed that, if cleared, the U.S. does not believe the area would be a “safe haven”, emphasizing that the U.S. is seeking to drive ISIL “out of the region”.

A contingent of six F-16s, and 300 American personnel arrived at the site last weekend, preceded by the first unmanned airstrike from Incirlik last week.

Asked if Washington would allow Ankara to carry out attacks against the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Toner said:

“Our understanding with Turkey is that they will not attack, and we would not agree to that.”

The PYD's armed wing, the People's Protection Units, has dealt significant setbacks to ISIL in north Syria, supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. Turkey suspects the militants of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Toner further said that the U.S. is “focused on ISIL” when asked if the U.S. would participate in attacks against the PKK, adding that he wasn’t aware of any congressional authorization to attack the PKK.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ağustos 2015, 09:18