U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham revealed on February 16 that Washington will ask its allies in Europe to commit hundreds of troops to create a safe-zone in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border.
“I’m hoping that President Trump will be coming to some of you and asking for your help and you will say yes. And in return, the capability that we have that is unique to the United States will still be in the fight in Syria,” Graham said at the Munich Security Conference, according to Washington Post.
Graham added that Trump is open to keeping some U.S. troops in the northeastern region if the European countries agreed to establish the safe-zone there. He also argued that European countries can establish such zone with a “fraction of the forces” that they had in Syria in the past.
The proposed safe-zone in northeastern Syria will also protect Kurdish forces, which have done the heavy lifting in the fight against ISIS, according to Graham, who warned that these forces may face an attack by Turkey.
“If we do not have a game plan, Turkey will go into Syria and deal with the YPG threat … We need a safe zone to deal with that problem,” Graham said.
The plan to establish a European-sponsored safe-zone in northeastern Syria was first revealed by the Wall Street Journal on January 31. Back then, the newspaper said that the U.S. wants the UK, France and Australia to lead the coalition that will control the zone.
Turkey has not commented on the U.S. new plan yet. However, the country’s defense minister said a day earlier that only the Turkish military should be deployed within the safe-zone in northeastern Syria. The statement indicate that Ankara is not willing to tolerate this new plan.
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