DAMASCUS – The Syrian government has criticized the agreement between Washington and Ankara to establish a safe zone in northern Syria, calling it a violation of Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Previously, the Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that Ankara and Washington had agreed to set up a joint operations coordination center and the formation of a “safe zone” in northern Syria.
“Syria categorically and blatantly rejects the […] agreement to establish a so-called safe zone,” wrote the Syrian state news agency SANA, citing an anonymous source from the Syrian Foreign Ministry.
The source also argued that “Syrian Kurds, who have agreed to become a tool in this aggressive US and Turkey project, have a historical responsibility in this regard.”
The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called the agreement “a gross violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, thereby violating the principles of international law and the UN Charter. According to the ministry, the agreement represents “a dangerous escalation and a threat to peace and stability” in the region.
The statement comes after Turkish and US officials struck a deal on Wednesday to establish a “joint operations center” to create a safe zone in northern Syria to deal with tensions between Turkey and the Kurdish-led militias supported by the US.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the deal, saying “it was important that a step be taken east of the Euphrates and this is being done with the Americans.”
Earlier, Erdogan stated that he had notified Russia and the United States of his plans to launch an operation in Syria on the east of the Euphrates River, giving no further details of the next steps, not even the start date of the operation. The territory in the east of the Euphrates River is currently controlled by self-defense forces, which mainly include Kurdish-led militias.