France to discuss no-fly zone in Syria with partners

France to meet with Turkey and members of Syrian opposition soon over no fly zone in northern Syria according to French President Francois Hollande

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President François Hollande speaking at UN General Assembly

French President François Hollande on Monday announced that his administration has decided to discuss with Turkey and France's other allies the possible establishment of no fly zone in northwestern Syria.

During the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, he said, "[French Foreign Minister] Laurent Fabius in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think."

Hollande also stated that Syrian refugees in Europe could be returned to the country after a possible no fly zone is established in northen Syria.

Meanwhile, UN Security Council diplomats said that Russian President Putin would not support a no fly zone in Syria, as he is a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in the country's internal conflict.

Currently hosting nearly two million Syrian refugees, Turkey's government has supported a no-fly zone in Syria for years and also believes it would help to stop ISIS and PKK affiliated militants from crossing the Syrian border into Turkey.

"Turkey suggests forming a safe zone for refugees. Otherwise a new wave of refugees will probably become inevitable. This issue has to be resolved within Syria," a senior Turkish oficial said, adding that the United Nations, EU and the United States should "focus on the root cause."

"The [Turkish] idea of a no-fly zone in the north of Syria would aim to liberate this part of Syrian territory through a large operation and it would be for the moderate Syrian opposition and the Turks to carry it out," a senior French official said after French President Hollande met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday.

France on Sunday said that it had launched its first air strikes against ISIS militants in Syria as part of an ongoing joint effort to uproot the widespread insurgency that currently controls large swathes of both that country and Iraq. Six French jets targeted and destroyed an ISIS drill camp without causing any civilian casualties in eastern Syria.

In August Turkey's then Foreign Minister Feridun Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that an agreement had been reached with the United State a safe zone including a specific 98 km by 45 km area to be controlled by the Free Syrian Army in Syria. But some Washington officials denied the US had agreed to a formal no-fly zone. That proposal with Turkey was not aimed at forming a "safe zone" for refugees.

TRTWorld and agencies