30,000 ground troops needed for Syria safe zone, Kerry says

US Secretary of State John Kerry says upto 30,000 ground soldiers needed to protect 'safe zone' in Syria

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies about the his departments FY 2015 budget before the House Appropriations Committee's State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee Feb. 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday it would take around 15,000 to 30,000 ground troops to protect “safe zone” in northern Syria, citing previously unheard estimates provided by the Pentagon.

“All this talk about safe zones does not go through the process of what it really means,” Kerry stated.

"Our Pentagon estimates that to have a true safe zone in the north of the country you may have upwards of fifteen to thirty thousand troops. Now are we ready to authorize that? Are we ready to put them on the ground?”

He indicated personnel and equipment would be required to protect the safe zone against air attacks as well as ground attacks.

Turkey has long supported a zone in northern Syria to preserve refugees and allow the safe humanitarian aid.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said she backs the idea of a no-fly zone in northern Syria due to preventing a new refugee flow in Europe.

Kerry’s remarks came a day after he told the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee that Washington is thinking a “Plan B” option for military action if the cessation of hostilities deal fails.

According to the Syrian Center for Policy Research, 470,000 Syrians have been killed and 1,900,000 others have been injured while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the number of dead in Syrian civil war is estimated to be more than 370,000 between March 18, 2011 and Feb. 22, 2016.

At least 11 million have fled their homes and a great majority of them have been living neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

More than a million refugees have reached Europe, while Turkey hosts the most in the world, opening its doors to 2,7 million Syrian fleeing civil war.

TRTWorld and agencies