Troubles With Safe Zones- Sputnik
"Turkey has long advocated creating a safe zone in the border region," said Faruk Logoglu, Turkey's former ambassador to the United States referring to the area where Ankara has conducted its Operation Euphrates Shield. "However, if Trump announces that he wants to create a safe zone in the entire northern Syria, Turkey will face major problems."
"The majority of Syrian refugees are in Turkey. They have also settled in Jordan and Iraq. Clearly the stance of these countries on safe zones in Syria matters, but Turkey's take on the issue is of key importance. However, we have not seen Turkey and the [Trump administration] discuss this issue. Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for a thorough and comprehensive review of this issue and its potential implications. This was a right step, but it has shown that Ankara and Washington have not conducted official direct talks on Trump's initiative," the diplomat observed.Why hasn’t Washington, under Trump, spoken to Turkey’s leadership yet?
The diplomat also warned that Trump's plan could affect the Geneva peace process. This initiative could to a certain extent "embolden" the opposition, offering an opportunity to delay the talks. Should this happen, "all achievement reached at the Astana talks could be brought to nothing," he said.Coincidentally, or not, the Geneva Talks have been postponed until February 20/2017
Syria: UN-supported talks delayed until 20 February to give opposition time to unite
de Mistura: He explained that the delay of UN-supported intra-Syrian talks would give time for the ceasefire to solidify, give the Government a chance to consider concessions, and give a chance for the armed groups to come as “one unified opposition.”
Wondering aloud if the UN is waiting/hoping for Astana to fail?
An interesting read from Lawfare
The U.N. Charter and Safe Zones in Syria
Yesterday President Trump spoke to leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about the creation of “safe zones”—areas of protection for individuals displaced by the conflicts in Syria and perhaps also in Yemen. According to Politico, President Trump “requested, and the [Saudi] king agreed to support, safe zones in Syria and Yemen.”
Nevertheless, the hurdles to creating “safe zones” are significant. Some already have identified policy resistance within the Defense Department, which the White House has ordered (along with the State Department) to produce a plan for safe zones by the end of April. Lawmakers also likely are not enthused about deploying more U.S. troops on the ground in the Middle East, something a safe zone likely would entail. Yet others have worked through how international humanitarian law treats safe zones and raised a variety of practical questions to ask and resolve before deciding whether and how to proceed.
But none of these actors have noted the serious problem that could arise under the U.N. Charter if the United States or other states tried to establish these safe zones inside Syria without Assad’s consent. I wrote about this previously when the idea of creating a “buffer zone” over a part of northern Syria was on the table in 2014. If the basic idea this time around is to take over a small part of Syria’s territory to create a protected zone into which refugees could come and be safe from the violence, the states creating the safe zone will almost surely run afoul of the prohibition on the use of force under Charter article 2(4) unless they have Assad’s consent. Taking control of part of another state’s territory in this context—even for purely humanitarian purposes—is very difficult to justify under a self-defense theory, particularly where the safe zone is not immediately adjacent to the fighting with ISIS. And although the U.N. Security Council conceivably could decide to establish such a zone under Chapter VII over Assad’s objection, Russia surely would veto such a resolution.
Thus, those crafting options for the President should push hard for plans that either create safe zones consensually on the territory of Syria’s neighbors (e.g., Turkey) or that extract consent for the zones from Assad (with the strong urging of Russia, perhaps). Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that safe zones might be possible, but only with Assad’s consent.
The United States should pursue one of these alternate avenues rather than trying to establish a safe zone in Syria without such consent.
One of these alternative avenues? So establish a safe zone in Syria with Assad’s consent?
OR... Create a ‘consensual’ safe zone in Turkey? And if neither Turkey or Syria consent?
I certainly don't expect Turkey to consent. Syria? Depending on outside pressure? Maybe? Maybe not?
Turkey Faces Two Uneasy Choices in Syria- Neither of them Good for Turkey-An Oped
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, in a phone call Sunday with U.S. President Donald Trump, agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, a White House statement said.
Kurds get more weapons from the US and plan "new phase"
SDF is mostly YPG/PKK so I'm not including the absolute nonsense about this supply going to the Arabs portion of SDF which is just a veneer to cover up US cooperation with PKK terrorists
SDF spokesman Talal Silo said the delivery of the armored vehicles marked a significant improvement in U.S. support and attributed the change to the new administration. Trump says eradicating Islamic State will be one of his biggest priorities.
"Previously we didn't get support in this form, we would get light weapons and ammunition," Silo told Reuters. "There are signs of full support from the new American leadership -- more than before -- for our forces."
EUPHRATES DAM STILL IN ISLAMIC STATE HANDS
The U.S. strategy towards fighting Islamic State in Syria has generated tension with NATO ally Turkey
The Kurdish military source said the third phase would focus on capturing remaining areas, including the road between Raqqa city and Deir al-Zor. Cutting off Raqqa city from IS strongholds in Deir al-Zor would be a major blow against the group.
RT: Trump Administration sends Armored Vehicles to Syrian Rebels
The shipment was confirmed by Pentagon spokesman John Dorrian, who said it was made "using existing authorities, in the interest of helping protect our partnered force from the (IS) improvised-explosive device threat."
The Pentagon also said that plans to deliver the vehicles pre-dated the Trump administration, but were a sign of its renewed commitment to defeaating IS, which the new US President promised as part of his campaign.Why didn't Trump prevent the delivery of these new arms and vehicles