In a surprise shift of their declared policy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on January 17 that they hope to reach an understanding with Turkey that would secure the border area in northeastern Syria.
The US-backed group promised in an official statement that it will provide all necessary help to establish a “safe zone” that would protect the minorities along the Syrian-Turkish border. However, the group insisted that there should be international guarantees.
“We never posed any threat to the neighboring countries, especially Turkey, we hope and look forward to reach understandings and solutions which would insure the stability and safety in the border areas,” the SDF’s official statement reads.
Earlier, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency released a map of the alleged safe zone in the area east of the Euphrates in northeastern Syria, which had been recently discussed between the U.S. and Turkey. The plan to establish the zone was first revealed by U.S. President Donald Trump on January 13.
Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019
This new rapprochement between the SDF and Turkey was likely the result of heavy pressure from the U.S., which is trying to prevent any agreement between Kurdish forces and the Damascus government.