It’s another day under a new administration and still we hear the rumblings of the plan to create “safe zones” in Syria. However, in characteristic Trump administration fashion, Department of State has yet to specify whether or not the “safe zones” in question will be the traditional “No-Fly Zone” of the Libyan variety or some other concoction of military force. Nevertheless, the political groundwork is currently being laid by the Secretary of State for their implementation whatever form they may take.
Speaking before the 68-war crime coalition of states backing the destruction of Syria, Rex Tillerson stated that the United States would set up “interim zones of stability” for the purpose of helping refugees return home. Fresh on the heels of criticizing Hillary Clinton for her slaughter of the Libyan people under the guise of a “No-Fly Zone,” Trump supporters will no doubt applaud the policy as a means to end the refugee crisis.
“The United States will increase our pressure on ISIS and al Qaeda and will work to establish interim zones of stability, through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home,” Tillerson said.
Col. Joseph Scrocca, coalition spokesman, stated after the remarks that the U.S. military had not received any orders to create any type of “zones” in Syria.
Likewise, a final statement at the meeting made no mention of safe zones.
However, the fact that the Secretary of State is indeed mentioning them, as did the President during the Presidential campaign, is extremely concerning.
Such has even been admitted by top U.S. Generals when explaining exactly what a No-Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,
We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.
General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,
I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability
When Senator Roger Wicker asked Gen. Joe Dunford what it would take to impose a No-Fly Zone upon Syria, the General responded, “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”
The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the East to Jarablus in the west and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo. That “Buffer Zone” was actually created with Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield and it has functioned as the last open, NATO-protected supply line for ISIS and its allies to enter Syria from Turkey.
Many hoped that a Trump victory would finally mean the end of terrorism and destabilization in Syria. However, after more than two months in office, Trump is showing clear signs that he is as much an establishment figure as the rest as time moves on.
In the first interview with Western media since the election of Donald Trump, Assad decried the plan as a bad idea that would have no real ability to protect civilians or end the Syrian crisis.
When asked by the interviewer about Trump’s statement that he would “absolutely” create “safe zones” in Syria “for the Syrian people,” Assad responded by saying,
But actually, it won’t [protect civilians], it won’t. Safe zones for the Syrians could only happen when you have stability and security, where you don’t have terrorists, where you don’t have [the] flow and support of those terrorists by the neighboring countries or by Western countries. This is where you can have a natural safe zone, which is our country. They don’t need safe zones at all. It’s not a realistic idea at all.
When the interviewer pressed Assad on the fact that so many Syrians were displaced and thus “How can you oppose safe zones?” Assad pointed directly at the root of the problem. He stated,
The first thing you have to ask: why were they displaced? If you don’t answer that question, you cannot answer the rest. They were displaced for two reasons: first of all, the terrorist acts and the support from the outside. Second, the [U.S.] embargo on Syria. Many people didn’t only leave Syria because of the security issues. As you can see, Damascus is safe today, it’s nearly normal life, not completely.
But they don’t find a way for life in Syria, so they have to travel abroad in order to find their living. So, if you lift the embargo, and if you stop supporting the terrorists … I’m talking about everyone who supported terrorists, including the United States during Obama’s administration. If you stop all these acts, most of those people will go back to their country.
Indeed. In this short interview clip, Assad echoed the same sentiment and solutions that I and many other Syrian researchers and analysts have been saying from the beginning of the crisis: i.e. if America wants to stop terrorism in Syria, it need only stop funding it, supporting it, and directing it. It’s that simple. The U.S. could also call on its allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, U.K., France, Qatar, and Israel to do the same. It could work with Russia to eliminate the remnants of terrorist forces and it could provide information and coordinates to both Syria and Russia on the whereabouts of terrorists and terrorist forces.
We should call on the Trump administration to immediately end any and all support for armed groups in Syria, to press America’s allies to stop supporting terrorists, immediately begin rapprochement with Russia and Syria, and look toward the future of investment in rebuilding Syria as a country as well as immediately ending the sanctions currently in place against the Syrian people.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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Image Credit: Valentina Petrova/AP, posted at FT blogs