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News > World

Turkey's Erdogan to Consult Trump over Syrian No-Fly Zone

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 December 2016

Turkey says it is increasingly concerned about insecurity along its border with Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that he will bring up the issue of a no-fly zone with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, when he takes office next year, according to CNN Turkey on Saturday.

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Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said he wanted to make a “terror-free safe zone,” in the north of Syria to protect Turkey’s southeastern provinces which border Syria and is reportedly pushing for a no-fly zone in the north of Syria. He is set to discuss the proposal with Trump once the real estate mogul takes over the White House on Jan. 20.

The question of a no-fly zone in Syria has long been a hot-button issue, with Western Allies having argued in the past that such a measure should be used against the Syrian Army in the same way as the NATO-imposed no-fly zone decimated the armed forces of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Russia on the other hand, has vetoed all proposals at the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone in Syria.

Since winning the election in November, Trump has revealed little detail on the U.S. role in the conflict, but on Thursday said that “we’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance.” However, some experts view such a proposal is not only difficult to achieve, but dangerous.

Erdogan mentioned three border provinces in Turkey, that because of ongoing insecurity were “hanging by a thread.” In north Syria, Turkish forces are currently aiding the Free Syrian Army, or FSA, through ground and air support, as part of Operation Euphrates.

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Erdogan said that the FSA “is the epitome of moderate opposition in Syria … It has nothing to do with (being a) terrorist organization, but it is precisely a resistance movement. They are trying to save their territory.”

Overnight, an attack as part of Operation Euphrates, killed 68 militants from the Islamic State group in northern Syria, adding to over 100 who had already been “neutralized” this week, as intense fighting continues near the town of al-Bab, a stronghold for the Jihadist group.

It comes as anti-government forces leave the besieged city of Aleppo, along with thousands of civilians, which has been touted as the beginning of the end for war which has raged since 2011.

On Monday, Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot dead by off-duty Turkish police Officer Mevlut Mert Altintas in Ankara. Immediately after the shooting, Altintas was heard yelling “Don't forget Syria, don't forget Aleppo,” and “Whoever is behind this oppression, one by one you will have to pay."

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