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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pentagon Denies US Considering Syria-Turkey Buffer Zone

RIA Novosti

22:58 08/10/2014

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – The United States is not weighing a proposal by Turkey to create a safe zone along its border with Syria, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference Wednesday.

'This is not a new issue. It is now not on the table as a military option that we're considering. That said, I think it's a topic of continued discussions,' the Pentagon representative said as quoted by Reuters.

Earlier in the day, France's President Francois Hollande expressed support for the idea of creating a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria to ensure the safety of civilians.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested the establishment of a no-fly zone and a buffer zone in the area and said that airstrikes without a ground operation would not stop the advance of IS militants.

Islamic State (IS) militants have been besieging Kobani, which is one of the largest towns in the Kurdish region bordering Turkey, for the last three weeks. Over 400 people have died during clashes between IS and Kurdish fighters in Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Some 200,000 refugees have crossed into Turkey from the IS threat.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.

Following the group's advance, the United States and its allies launched airstrikes against the IS insurgents fighting on the Iraqi soil in August. The military action was subsequently extended to Syria with international coalition taking part in air raids.

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