UN opposes creation of ‘safe zones’ in Syria

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Turkish soldiers stand guard as Kurdish people wait for their relatives who wait near fences on the Syrian border on June 26, 2015 in Suruc, Turkey. (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

ARA News

Damascus – The United Nations’ refugee chief on Friday rejected the proposal of establishing ‘safe zones’ for refugees in Syria, saying the war-torn country was not a proper place for such an initiative.

“Let’s not waste time planning safe zones that will not be set up because they will not be safe for people to go back,” said Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees.

Grandi stressed that the conflict should be resolved in Syria before creating any safe zones.

“Let us concentrate on making peace so that everywhere becomes safe. That should be the investment,” he said.

This comes after US President Donald Trump called for safe zones in Syria as a substitute for resettling refugees in the US and elsewhere.

Syria’s neighbours Turkey and Lebanon have also supported the idea of creating safe zones in Syria, especially that both countries have been hosting 3.75 million Syrian refugees for over five years.

Also, the Syrian political and armed opposition groups have for long demanded the establishment of safe zones in Syria to protect civilians fleeing airstrikes and bombardment by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Saleh al-Zein, the official spokesman of the al-Shamiya Front, a main rebel group in northwestern Syria, told ARA News that all rebel factions would support the establishment of safe zones in Syria.

“Such zones would provide protection to civilians, to displaced people from war-torn towns and villages across the country,” al-Zein said.

“We don’t expect much from the new US government, but if President Trump succeeds in creating safe zones, that would be a main step towards solution in Syria,” the rebel spokesman told ARA News.

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News 

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