The Co-chair of the Syrian National Council, Ilham Ehmed, has said that the safe zones proposed by the new US administration will be formed in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Speaking to Firat News Agency (ANF), Ehmed said, “the most important decision taken by the new administration in Washington is planning for refugees to be placed in safe zones in the region.”
According to the ANF, Ehmed was invited to the US for meetings with representatives in congress and federal commissions. “We met with many people. We met with members of the congress and the State Department. We also met with some of Obama’s former advisers and Trump’s adviser during his election campaign,” Ehmed told the news agency.
On the new administration’s policy on Syria, Ehmed said, “There is a decision for safe zones in Syria. In the meetings we had, and the things we discussed, there was a consensus that the safest areas are those under the control of the SDF and YPG. US officials are aware of this fact. Those fleeing war could be hosted in these regions until the fighting is over, after which they can return safely back to their homes.”
“There are always surprises in politics. However, strategically speaking, we observed that the US will continue to support the SDF and its proposed project for a solution to the conflict,” Ehmed said.
Ehmed gave her view on Turkish President Erdogan’s recent comments and plans for Syria saying, “Erdogan’s projects have no chance of success. The US is not putting any faith into those projects. The US doesn’t want to dismantle the Syrian state and get rid of Bashar Assad. This is why Turkey’s hopes of reinvigorating the ‘train and equip’ program has no chance of materialising. That project has already failed.”
Although Turkey has been a staunch advocate of safe zones in Syria, Ankara is sure to be angered by Ehmed’s statements as originally the idea was for Turkish backed groups to police the safe zones with Erdogan saying in Bahrain, “we will form a safe zone in which we will allow for mainly our Arab and Turkmen brothers and sisters to settle into.”