Erdogan lays out Turkish plan to create safe zones in Syria

In a speech in Bahrain, Turkey’s President Erdogan says the planned no-fly zones would cover an area of at least 4,000-5,000 square kilometres.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

President Erdogan said Turkey will continue to play an active role in global anti-terrorism operations. Turkey regards removing Daesh from al-Bab and Raqqa a national security priority.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday delivered remarks at the International Peace Institute in Bahrain on the necessity of a safe zone in Syria to solve the humanitarian crisis resulting from the country's six-year civil war. 

Erdogan, who arrived in Bahrain on Sunday as part of his Gulf region official tour, said the planned safe zone would cover an area of at least 4,000-5,000 square kilometres and would also serve as a no-fly zone.

“We aim to turn 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometres (inside Syria) into a terror-free safe zone,” he said, adding that Arab and Turkmen civilians will be placed in the planned area. 

After cleansing the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab from Daesh, Turkey will extend its military operations to the town Manbij and the city of Raqqa, Erdogan added.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more from Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

Turkey believes recent Daesh terror attacks in Turkey, including a shooting in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year's Day, were coordinated from Al-Bab and Raqqa, both Daesh strongholds in Syria.  

Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said last week that Turkey presented a detailed plan to oust Daesh from Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.

In his speech in Manama, Erdogan also condemned Israel's new settlements in the West Bank as an "absolute provocation."

Israel announced plans last month for 3,000 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.

TRTWorld and agencies