Turkey pushes plan for establishing no-fly zone in Syria
Iran Press TV
Mon Sep 5, 2016 4:13PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his previous call for establishing a no-fly zone in Syria, saying it would be needed to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into Turkey and other places.
Erdogan, who was speaking in China, said he had renewed his call last year for setting up the safe zone during talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama.
"The Syrian citizens in our country and those [who] would want to migrate from Syria can now find the opportunity to live more peacefully in their own land and their own houses," Erdogan said during a press conference after the closing of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, adding that such a zone could be set up in a big stretch of land that Turkey claims to have liberated from militants in its recent military operation in Syria.
"A no-fly zone could be set up there, and that was my suggestion to both Obama and Putin. This could be achieved with the coalition forces. We are in an effort to take this step," he said, referring to an alliance of Western and regional armies claiming to fight the Daesh Takfiri group in Syria.
Despite massive criticism, Turkey launched its military operation into Syria almost two weeks ago, in a declared bid to engage Daesh and Syrian Kurdish forces.
An estimated 3 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey.
Erdogan had proposed the no-fly zone idea during the previous G20 summit, which was held in the Turkish city of Antalya last year.
Ankara's proposal, however, which required an international police force to protect the area from aerial bombardment, was no success.
"At the Antalya summit, we persistently told all leaders that we could solve the migrant crisis by setting up a safe zone ... now at this summit too, we have brought up this issue with all our friends," Erdogan said on Monday.
The Turkish leader also commented on the escalated fighting in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, saying efforts were underway to establish a ceasefire in the area before Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) which is expected to start on September 11.
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