French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think,” Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly.
“Not only would it protect those living in these zones, but, and this is the idea behind it, refugees could return to this zone,” Hollande said.
Hollande said such a proposal could eventually be rubber-stamped with a U.N. Security Council resolution that “would give international legitimacy to what’s happening in this zone.”
“Turkey suggests forming a safe zone for refugees,” a senior Turkish official said. “Otherwise a new wave of refugees will probably become inevitable. This issue has to be resolved within Syria,” the official said, also calling on partners the U.N., European Union and the United States “to focus on the root cause.”
“The (Turkish) idea of a no-fly zone in the north of Syria would aim to liberate this part of Syrian territory through a large operation and it would be for the moderate Syrian opposition and the Turks to carry it out,” a senior French official said after Hollande met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday called again for the creation of a safe zone inside Syria to host thousands of mostly Syrian migrants who are trying to cross into Europe from Turkish territory, AFP reported.
Davutoglu also rejected calls by EU members for migrants’ asylum claims to be handled in the countries from which they try to enter the bloc, telling Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet: “We have told Europe that there will be no reception centre in Turkey.”
Rather than creating such centers the EU should provide funding for setting up a safe zone in northern Syria free from attacks of Islamic State militants.
Turkey then could build three cities each hosting one hundred thousand people in the safe zone, Davutoglu said, according to AFP.
“If the area between Jarablus Azez was emptied, we can build three cities with a capacity of 100,000 each. We built similar ones after the 2011 Van earthquake. The EU can finance it,” he added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)