Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS

“Details remain to be worked out, but what we are talking about with Turkey is cooperating to support partners on the ground in northern Syria who are countering ISIL,” a senior Obama administration official said, using another term for the Islamic State. “The goal is to establish an ISIL-free zone and ensure greater security and stability along Turkey’s border with Syria.”


But the plan faces the same challenges that have long plagued American policy in Syria. While the United States is focused on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority, even though Turkey has escalated its efforts against the Islamic State since the group was said to have carried out its first deadly bombing on Turkish soil last week.


Whatever the goal, the plan will put American and allied warplanes closer than ever to areas that Syrian aircraft regularly bomb, raising the question of what they will do if Syrian warplanes attack their partners on the ground.


And with only 60 Syrian insurgents having been formally vetted and trained by the United States under a Pentagon program, questions also remain about which Syrian insurgents and how many will be involved in the new operation.


Read More: Turkey and U.S. Plan to Create Syria ‘Safe Zone’ Free of ISIS – The New York Times