General James Logan, a retired United States Marine Corps general and a former US National Security Advisor, said on Monday that the Western intervention in 1991 to save the Kurds from Saddam Hussein by establishing no-fly zones could be used as a successful example for establishing a safe zone in Syria.
The retired general, who visited the Kurdistan Region in December at the invitation of Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, along with a delegation of generals from the 1991’s Operation Provide Comfort, says the operation effectively gave birth to the region now known globally as Kurdistan.
“Our return was a poignant reminder of how the United States and several key allies harnessed a unique combination of hard and soft power to great effect for the Kurdish and Iraqi people,” General Logan said.
“Our delegation was inspired to witness firsthand the enduring effects OPC has had on the ground, and the warm welcome extended to us by President Barzani and the Kurdish Government in Erbil reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Kurdish bilateral relationship that continues today. Simply put, the Kurdish people have not forgotten,” he said
“America and her allies provided protection and sustenance to the Kurdish people, who to this day attribute the area now called Kurdistan to this operation. The Kurds of today remain among our most trusted and reliable allies,” he concluded.
The retired general said that the same success can be achieved in Syria.
“Today, when we consider the net gains that OPC produced for Americans, Europeans, and Kurds alike, this operation remains an example of what could yet be achieved in Syria,” he said. “Certain tactics employed in Iraq, such as the establishment of “no-fly” and “safe” zones” for refugees, could be applied to particular advantage in Syria. President Trump has stated that such options remain “on the table” for discussion.”
“From the perspective of 2017, it is evident that military action taken in 1991 achieved results that still benefit the U.S. today. Kurdish fighting forces are effectively fighting much of the ground war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including the ongoing effort to liberate Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul,” he added.
“Just as the Kurds of today have not forgotten the benefits of that intervention, the Syrians of today will long remember that we failed them in their hour of similar need. But maybe, just maybe, it’s still not too late,” the US general concluded.
According to Kurdish officials in Syria, the Kurdish-led areas in northern Syria could serve as safe zone for refugees and IDPS. However, they worry that the West could support a Turkish safe zone in northern Aleppo.
Sinem Mohammed, a senior Kurdish official in Syria, told ARA News that they won’t allow a Turkey-controlled safe zone in northern Syria.
“As for the safe zone, it depends on how, where it would be created, and most importantly who will be controlling it,” she said. “If it’s under the control of Turkey, of course it is not accepted.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgen burg | Source: ARA News
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