Northern Syria Buffer Zone
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
|Northern Syria Buffer Zone|
|Syrian-Turkish border, Syria|
|Length||115 kilometres (71 mi)|
|Controlled by||Syrian Democratic Forces and SDF Military Councils (during existence)|
|Condition||No longer in effect, replaced with Second Northern Syria Buffer Zone|
|In use||16 August–9 October 2019|
|Events||Syrian Civil War|
|Part of a series on|
the Syrian Civil War
|Syrian peace process|
The Northern Syria Buffer Zone (aka Safe Zone, Peace Corridor, Security Mechanism) was a temporary Syrian Civil War demilitarized zone (DMZ) established on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2019 to maintain security along the border and to dissuade a prospective Turkish invasion of the self-proclaimed Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The DMZ was administered by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their military councils and enforced by United States Armed Forces and Turkish Armed Forces personnel.
The buffer zone collapsed in early October 2019, before it was fully implemented, when Turkey dismissed the agreement on 1 October and the United States abandoned the effort on 6 October after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, allowing for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's planned ground incursion into the region. The subsequent Turkish offensive on 9 October rendered the buffer zone fully obsolete.
The Syrian Democratic Forces are an armed participant in the Syrian Civil War and serve as the armed forces of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. The SDF is composed of numerous groups, most prominent among them being the YPG and YPJ and their political branch, the PYD, which Turkey considers a branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an organization which Turkey considers a terrorist group and with which it has engaged in armed conflict since the breakdown of peace negotiations in 2015. For this reason, Turkey views the entire SDF as nothing more than an extension of the PKK. This has led Turkey to intervene twice against the group, first by invading Northern Syria to prevent the linking of SDF-held areas and later by starting a full-scale attack against the SDF in Afrin. As a result of the Turkish operations, Turkey has established an occupation zone in northern Syria, which was made the target of an SDF insurgency. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has frequently expressed a desire to forcefully remove the SDF from the Syrian-Turkish border.
On the other hand, the SDF became one of the United States' main Syrian partners in the military intervention against ISIL, leading to U.S. troops being stationed along SDF-held territories, thus preventing a Turkish invasion. At the same time, US President Donald Trump has expressed his intention to disengage from the Syrian Civil War, initially ordering all US personnel in Syria to be withdrawn, before later deciding to leave a small contingent, at the behest of his military advisors. Nonetheless, the US is keen on maintaining good relations with Turkey, which had by that point already been strained by the refusal of the US to extradite Turkish dissident Fethullah Gülen (whom Turkey accuses of masterminding the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt) and the Turkish purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia, as Turkey is considered NATO's key member in the Middle East.
The US and Turkey had previously clashed diplomatically over the issue of the SDF-held city of Manbij, with Turkey wanting to purge the city of the YPG units stationed there. The result was a 'Manbij Roadmap' being agreed to by Turkey and the US, which would eventually entail a YPG withdrawal from the city. The roadmap, however, was never implemented and the YPG never withdrew. Turkey accused the US of dragging its feet and sabotaging the implementation of the roadmap, vowing to never enter into a similar deal in the future.
Relations between Turkey and the SDF became increasingly hostile in mid 2019, with the SDF joining forces with the Syrian Government to repel a Turkish-opposition military operation near Tell Rifaat.
The deputy secretary of defense for the Middle East, Michael Mulroy said at the Council on Foreign Relations that the United States cannot carry out its strategy in Syria without partners such as the mostly Kurdish SDF, who "bore most of the burden in destroying the Islamic State's caliphate". He said that the United States must not leave before stabilizing the area. "And if we don't do that, we will be back there, for sure, doing this again," Mulroy said. "We owe it to the people that live there, who have beared unspeakable burdens, and we owe it to the men and women that are going to come after us at the State Department, at the Defense Department, that we don't just leave this undone." 
Preliminary negotiations and initial failure
During summer of 2019, the Turkish president announced that Turkey could "no longer wait" and would not tolerate continued SDF presence on the Turkish-Syrian border. He stated that if the US did not agree to a deal that would remove the SDF from those areas, Turkey would unilaterally launch a full-scale invasion against SDF-held territories east of the Euphrates river, establishing a Turkish-occupied "security zone" along the border - something that US leadership viewed as "unacceptable". With the Turkish army massing along the border, the Trump Administration decided to enter into negotiations with Turkey over establishing a "safe zone", which would fundamentally address the SDF presence in Northern Syria. The two sides initially failed to make any headway, with the US initially offering a 10–15 kilometres (6.2–9.3 mi)-deep zone under joint US-Turkish control, while Turkey demanded a 30–50 kilometres (19–31 mi)-deep zone under sole Turkish control.
On 7 August 2019, Turkey said it reached a framework deal with the United States, that would prevent a unilateral Turkish invasion of northern Syria. The initial first steps reportedly included the creation of a 'joint operations centre', which would coordinate the establishment of a "peace corridor" along the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border, while still leaving details about the size and scope of the "peace corridor" undefined and ambiguous.
Terms of the agreement
In mid August 2019, the head of the Syrian Democratic Forces revealed that the two sides had agreed on the specifics of the safe zone deal. They were listed as follows:
- A buffer zone (also referred to as "safe zone" or "peace corridor" by some parties)[a] would be established in the areas between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (notably excluding the Manbij area) in Northern Syria, totaling in about 115 km of the border between the two countries.
- The zone would be 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) deep in most areas, while in a few limited areas would be expanded to 9–14 kilometres (5.6–8.7 mi)[b] deep. The expanded part of the zone would be located between the towns Serêkanî and Tell Abyad. The 14 km portion of the zone may be extended by 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) in the last stage of the implementation of the deal, reaching 18 kilometres (11 mi) at its deepest point and being designated as a "security belt". Within the "security belt" regular SDF (including YPG and YPJ) units would be allowed to remain in their positions, but would have to withdraw all heavy weapons. No hostile actions or acts of aggression would be permitted within the buffer zone.
- YPG and YPJ forces would withdraw from the 5-9-14 km area of the buffer zone entirely, leaving the areas they withdraw from under the military control of the SDF military councils and the civil control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (the latter of which represents a confirmation of the status quo).
- Turkish reconnaissance aircraft would be allowed to monitor the zone, but Turkish warplanes would not be allowed to enter and no airstrikes would take place.
- The SDF would dismantle the border fortifications it has constructed along the Syrian-Turkish border.
- The US and Turkey would conduct joint military patrols along the buffer zone, but would not occupy territory. Separate Turkish patrols would not be permitted.
- The joint US-Turkish operations center would oversee the implementation of the deal and coordinate actions between the two parties.
- Some of the Syrian refugees currently housed in Turkey would start to be relocated to the areas within the zone.[c]
- Turkey would refrain from any incursions into Northern Syria.
- Turkey would not establish any observation posts in Northern Syria, as it had done in Idlib. All observation posts would have to be built on the territory of the Republic of Turkey.
On 24 August, Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar reported that the U.S.-Turkish combined joint operations center (CJOC) was fully operational, adding that joint helicopter flights would begin that same day.
- The first joint U.S.-Turkish helicopter flight took place, with two generals, one from the U.S. Army and one from the Turkish army, flying on the same helicopter.
Planned SDF withdrawal begins
On 27 August, the first stage of the planned Kurdish withdrawal came into effect, with YPG units leaving their positions and withdrawing along with their weapons from Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.
On 31 August, Turkish president Erdoğan threatened that Turkey would "implement its own plans" if Turkish soldiers are not allowed to control the buffer zone in Northern Syria within two or three weeks.[d]
On 4 September, the SDF's Ras al-Ayn military council (composed of local fighters loyal to the SDF) began joint patrols with U.S. personnel around the town, following the withdrawal of regular SDF units from the area a week prior.
- Turkish president Erdogan described the buffer zone as "nothing more than a name". Despite Erdogan's statement, his spokesman stated that Turkey had already completed its preparations for the implementation of the "U.S.-Turkish joint operational plan".
- An SDF executive council co-chair stated that the buffer zone had gone off to a "good start," but insisted that Turkey must withdraw its troops from the border before "calm could prevail".
- The Turkish president expressed his desire to resettle one million refugees (out of the 3.6 million residing in Turkey at that point) within the buffer zone. He accused the international community, namely the European Union, of not providing help with the refugee burden. He threatened to "open the gates", implying to let all of the refugees freely emigrate, if Turkey did not receive support for its plans in the buffer zone. He then demanded that joint U.S.-Turkish (ground) patrols within the zone begin by the last week of September.
Joint ground patrols begin
On 8 September, Turkish and United States Armed Forces personnel conducted their first joint ground patrol starting from the perimeter of Tell Abyad, close to the Turkish town of Akçakale. Six Turkish armored vehicles were involved in the patrol, along with several American armored vehicles, with the U.S. vehicles leading the way. The patrol headed to a Kurdish-controlled base to inspect it and to ensure that trenches and sand berms had been removed.
- The Syrian government vehemently condemned the initiation of joint patrols, stating that it viewed them as representing a flagrant violation of the country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The Turkish President expressed dissatisfaction with the buffer zone, accusing the United States of creating the buffer zone for the benefit of the YPG, instead of Turkey.
On 10 September, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu accused the United States of "stalling" the implementation of the zone and reasserted the threat that Turkey would unilaterally invade Northern Syria, if it deemed it necessary. He further demanded that the safe zone be expanded to 32 km, rather than the 5-9-14 model being implemented at that point by the U.S. and SDF.
On 12 September, the U.S. military was reported as considering the proposition of sending about 150 additional troops to Northern Syria in an attempt to "reduce tensions" between the SDF and Turkey. A Pentagon spokesman however stated that the U.S. "posture" in Syria would remain "unchanged".
On 18 September, Turkish president Erdogan stated Turkey was seeking to settle 2 to 3 million refugees within the border zone (up from one million from his 5 September statement). He reiterated the repeated Turkish threat to "implement [Turkey's] own plans" if he deemed that "no results [had] come" from the deal in two weeks.
On 19 September, the U.S. military was reported to have continued arming YPG forces, despite repeated Turkish objections. The United States Department of Defense confirmed that it was continuing to supply "tailored" arms and vehicles to the Syrian Democratic Forces in general, stating that it was providing monthly reports to Turkey as to what arms and vehicles were sent to the group.
On 24 September, U.S. and Turkish troops conducted their second joint ground patrol within the buffer zone.
- Two Turkish Air Force F-16 jets were allowed to peacefully fly over the buffer zone area within the framework of the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve.
- Turkish president Erdogan spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, stating that 3 million Syrian refugees could be resettled within the buffer zone, if it is extended all the way to Raqqa and the Syrian Government-held city of Deir ez-Zor. He also held up a map, which depicted a 30 kilometres (19 mi) deep "safety corridor" in Northern Syria - reiterating the Turkish demand for an immediate extension of the buffer zone up to 30 km.
Turkey dismisses Buffer Zone, threatens invasion
On 1 October, the Turkish-imposed deadline for the fulfillment of Turkish demands expired without satisfaction, casting uncertainty on the future of the Buffer Zone and leaving the region once more under threat of a Turkish incursion.
On 5 October, the Turkish President warned that a full-scale Turkish invasion of Northern Syria could start that same or following day, after defining the joint U.S.-Turkish ground and air patrols as "a fairy tale". He further stated that the Turkish military had already prepared for the attack and had received plans for the invasion.
- Rojava officials warned that any such attack could risk the re-emergence of ISIL, as SDF units would have to leave their garrisons in the recently secured former ISIL strongholds in order to face the invasion. At the same time, SDF officials warned that they would "not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border and defend our people".
- United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper gave an ambiguous statement on the Turkish threat, stating that the United States was "working to make the security mechanism functional".
- U.S.-led coalition jets intensively overflew the Syria-Turkish border, while SDF units were reported to have started constructing new trenches and fortifications 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of the border in anticipation of an attack after having previously demolished its own fortifications along the border as part of the Buffer Zone deal. Meanwhile, the SDF military councils along the entire border were placed on alert and began preparing to resist Turkish forces.
U.S. forces withdraw, SDF pledges to fight
On 7 October, a White House Office press statement noted that Turkey would be "moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria" and declared that while U.S. forces would not support the operation, they would withdraw from the area and permit it to take place. The statement reportedly suggested that U.S. President Donald Trump approved of the Turkish offensive after Turkish President Erdogan assured him that Turkey would take over the detention of ISIL prisoners held in SDF captivity. Trump's sudden approval of a Turkish incursion was seen as a reversal of the objectives of the Buffer Zone agreement and was received controversially within the United States. Spokesmen of the SDF said the U.S. move was a "stab in the back" and asserted that the SDF would "defend north-east Syria at all costs".
Following the announcement of his approval of a Turkish operation, Trump tweeted a threat to Erdogan in which he stated that if Turkey took any action that he, in what he considered to be his "great and unmatched wisdom", deemed "off limits", he would "totally destroy and obliterate" the Turkish economy.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham stated he would "introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria". Graham said he would also "call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate".
On 8 October, SDF officials expressed their intentions to negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a deal that could see the entry of Syrian Army units into SDF-held territories, which they hope would forestall the planned Turkish invasion. Syria's Foreign Minister urged Kurdish forces to hand over several areas controlled by them to the Syrian Government, stating that should they refuse to do so, they would be faced with "abyss" in the face of Turkey. Masoud Barzani, senior politician in Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, urged Russia to intervene in the crisis in order to prevent "further suffering and pain of the Kurdish people in Syria".
End of demilitarization and beginning of Turkish offensive
- The Syrian Government strongly condemned the Turkish operation, accusing Turkey of "disgracefully" violating international law, as well as Syria's territorial integrity.
- The Syrian Democratic Forces urged the international community to implement a no-fly zone over Northern Syria, in order to prevent "an imminent humanitarian crisis".
The Kurdish Rudaw Media Network asserted that Turkey does not have a pressing "security concern" for a buffer zone at all, noting that Turkey had managed to successfully prevent any border crossings during the Siege of Kobanî without the need for a buffer zone.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute's Turkey Analyst publication reported that Turkish authorities may view the buffer zone as a way to "move beyond Kobanî" and restart the by that point highly troubled US- Turkey relations, while giving political leverage to US President Donald Trump to continue delaying the implementation of US congress-mandated sanctions against Turkey, which were voted in due to the Turkish purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia.
The conservative US Washington Examiner described the establishment of the buffer zone as "appeasement", which it dubbed "a terrible idea". The publication described Turkish intelligence as "deeply flawed and politicised", claimed that members of Turkish President Erdogan's family and even Erdogan himself might have "supported" both ISIL and Al-Qaeda and asserted that Turkey's previous incursion into Northern Syria had ended in "anti-Kurdish ethnic cleansing".
The Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper described the establishment of the buffer zone due to Turkish threats as a "rewriting of international law", which implicitly recognized a "right to invade" and would have great implications for other world conflicts by allowing militarily powerful nations to unilaterally assert themselves over weaker ones.
Russian-Turkish buffer zone
On 22 October, the Turkish and Russian presidents met and reached a deal aimed at concluding the Turkish offensive, based in part on the first buffer zone deal, but with significant changes and excluding the United States.
- Syria — The Syrian Government strongly condemned and categorically rejected the deal, dubbing it a "blatant attack" on the nation's national sovereignty, as well as a violation of international law.[e]
- Turkey — Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned that Turkey would not allow the plans for the implementation of the buffer zone to "stall" and cautioned that Turkey would not tolerate a repetition of the unenforced Manbij roadmap. Cavusoglu further pleged to clear the buffer zone of "YPG terrorists". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed dissatisfaction with the size, scope and implementation timeline of the deal numerous times and has threatened to void the agreement, as well as allow free refugee migration to Europe, if the deal's terms are not altered and interpreted more in line with Turkey's vision for the zone.
- United States — The US embassy in Turkey released a statement, in which it noted that US and Turkish military delegations had met and agreed to work together to address Turkey's 'security concerns'.
- Russia - Russia warned of what it deemed were efforts to divide northeastern Syria and added that any legitimate agreement would require the approval of the Syrian Government. Russia urged dialogue between the Syrian Government and Rojava as a means to prevent the partition of Syria.[e] However, several weeks later, during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for a buffer zone in principle, stating that Turkey had been shouldering a "huge refugee load" and had "legitimate concerns" over the security of its southern borders. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented that Russia "always supports" de-escalation agreements, but insisted that all such agreements "respect Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the rights of the Arab tribes, traditionally living around the Euphrates." 
- Iran - Iran condemned the agreement, considering it a "provocative and worrying step", which it deemed to violate the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.[e]
- Denmark - Shortly before joint US-Turkish ground patrols within the zone were due to begin, Denmark announced that it would be sending Danish army troops and medical personnel to SDF-held areas in Northern Syria, in what the Danish Government dubbed a move assist SDF and 'residual' U.S. forces in their fight against ISIL. The United States Department of Defense welcomed this announcement.
Non-state groups and organizations
- Syrian Democratic Forces — The SDF announced support for the deal, stating that they were ready to support its implementation and would "strike to ensure the success of efforts towards implementing the understanding ... with the Turkish state". At the same time, the co-chair of the foreign relations department at the Syrian Democratic Council has stated that the SDF would not tolerate any advance of Turkish troops, nor of their allied armed groups.
- Syrian opposition - The Syrian opposition, of which Turkey is one of the largest backers, supported the Turkish position by demanding that the safe zone be expanded to between 30–40 kilometres (19–25 mi). The opposition Syrian Interim Government aspired to one day control the zone, stating that they had three files of 120 pages each, which documented a plan to govern the zone, should they somehow come to occupy it at some point in the future.[f]
- American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War
- Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
- Turkish occupation of northern Syria
- 2018 Idlib demilitarization
- 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria
- Syrian peace process
- The SDF objects to the terms "safe zone" and "peace corridor", as they deem the areas they control to already be safe and peaceful. Those two terms are instead often used by the Turkish and US authorities to refer to the zone.
- Turkey has expressed dissatisfaction with the 9-5-14km model being established and has demanded it to be expanded to 32km. The United States has ignored the demand, while the SDF has categorically rejected it.
- Exactly which persons would be allowed to enter remains a contentious topic, as the SDF insists that any resettled refugees that previously fought for Jabhat Al-Nusra, ISIL or other designated terrorist groups would have to stand trial. The SDF further insists that only refugees that previously lived in those areas be allowed to resettle. Turkey, on the other hand, demanded that over 1 million refugees be resettled in the zone. Turkey later increased its demand to 2 to 3 million refugees.
- No provision was made in the deal for Turkish control over the buffer zone, nor for standalone Turkish patrols within it, as of the time the Turkish President made this statement. This places the statement in direct contradiction with the previously reported terms of the deal.
- Neither the Syrian Government, nor its Russian and Iranian allies were included in the negotiations. Their condemnation of the agreement stems primarily from the fact that two foreign nations (namely Turkey and the United States) had negotiated a demilitarized zone entirely within Syrian territory, without any input from the Syrian government or its backers.
- No provision is made in the deal for any expansion of the areas governed by the Syrian Interim Government, which at that time had been confined exclusively to the Turkish occupied areas of Syria. The SDF categorically opposes any such expansion and considers the entry of Turkish-backed opposition groups to be a 'red line' in negotiations. The deal explicitly states that the areas of the buffer zone are to remain under the military and civil control of the Rojava government and the SDF military councils.
- Kurdistan24. "US and Turkey reach accord, but concerns of Syrian Kurds continue". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Pitarakis, Lefteris; Mroue, Bassem. "Turkey launches assault on Kurdish fighters in Syria, after US forces step aside". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Turkey to Launch New Syria Operation Targeting Kurdish Militias". The Syrian Observer. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey rejects latest proposals on Syria safe-zone, accuses US of stalling". The Defense Post. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey to launch offensive in Kurdish-controlled area in northern..." Reuters. 5 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Erdogan threatens attack on Kurdish forces in Syria". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Hubbard, Ben; Schmitt, Eric (12 May 2019). "They Were 'Comrades in Arms' Against ISIS. Now the U.S. Is Eyeing the Exit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "How the United States Can Still Keep Faith With Its Best Allies in Syria". washingtoninstitute.org. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Seligman, Lara. "The Unintended Consequences of Trump's Decision to Withdraw From Syria". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Ward, Alex (22 February 2019). "Trump reversed his plan to pull all US troops out of Syria". Vox. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Sazak, Selim. "The U.S.-Turkey Relationship Is Worse Off Than You Think". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey too important for West to lose - analysis". Ahval. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Is NATO's future at risk over US-Turkey rift? | DW | 14.06.2019". DW.COM. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Frantzman, Seth. "The U.S. Presence in Syria Blocks Iranian, Russian, and Turkish Gains". Middle East Forum. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Rempfer, Kyle (26 July 2018). "US and Turkish troops coordinate patrols in tense Manbij region of Syria". Military Times. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Press, The Associated (30 September 2018). "Turkey accuses US of failing to abide by deal on Syrian town". Military Times. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Erdoğan reiterates YPG warning over Syria's Manbij - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Columnist, Josh Rogin. "Opinion | How Trump just destroyed his own Syria strategy". Washington Post.
- Wilson, Audrey. "U.S. and Turkey Spar Over Syria Safe Zone". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Erdogan threatens to attack Syrian Kurdish militia 'very soon'". France 24. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Erdogan publicly announces Turkey invasion east of the Euphrates". Middle East Monitor. 5 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "U.S. launches last-ditch effort to stop Turkish invasion of northeast Syria". The Washington Post.
- "US warns Turkey on Syria amid last-ditch talks to resolve buffer zone dispute". Al-Monitor. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "'Blatant aggression': Syria rejects US-Turkey safe zones deal". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- France-Presse, Agence (7 August 2019). "Syria: Turkey and US reach deal to manage tensions over Kurds". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey, U.S. Reach Agreement on Creating Buffer Zone in Syria". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Meier, Lauren. "U.S., Turkey said to reach deal to head off clash over Syria, Kurds". The Washington Times. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Kurdistan24. "SDF command reveals details about buffer zone in northeast Syria". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey, US agree on northern Syria buffer zone airspace control, Akar says". The Defense Post. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Mazloum Abdi: Entire border must be protected - ANHA | HAWARNEWS | English". hawarnews.com (in Turkish). Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Network, Rojava (22 August 2019). "#Safe_zone: Syrian democratic forces begins implementing the safe zone. First step is SZ of 5km, where US and Turkish military will joint patrols monitor the area from which #SDF troops will withdraw and local military council will remain. #Twitterkurds #Rojava #Turkeypic.twitter.com/7Z6aOybGGL". @RojavaNetwork. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Idiz, Semih (15 August 2019). "Turks skeptical over accord with US for Syrian 'safe zone'". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "First phase of safe zone begins, while Turkey's mistrust over previous deals with US lingers". DailySabah. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "No permanent Turkish army posts will be in buffer zone: SDF spokesperson". rudaw.net. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Safe Zone: Existing Project But Deferred Details". Enab Baladi. 29 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "Kurdish YPG militia, SDF to pull from Turkey-Syria border area after US deal with Ankara". RT International. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- Reuters (27 August 2019). "SDF and Kurdish YPG Forces to Pull From Turkey-Syria Border Strip: SDF". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Turkish drones start operating in northern Syria: ministry". Reuters. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Command, U. S. Central (23 August 2019). "Within 24 hours of the phone call between U.S. SECDEF and Turkish MINDEF to discuss security in northeast Syria, the SDF destroyed military fortifications, Aug 22. This demonstrates SDF's commitment to support implementation of the security mechanism framework.pic.twitter.com/7OwGELGzoQ". @CENTCOM. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "SDF begins withdrawing from Turkish border in north Syria |". Muraselon News. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey-US ops centre on Syria safe zone 'fully operational'". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey-US conduct first reconnaissance flight in Syria - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "US: Turkey-US conduct first reconnaissance flight". Middle East Monitor. 25 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Şafak, Yeni. "Erdoğan says Turkish troops will enter planned Syria safe zone 'soon'". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "Efforts ongoing for Turkey-US patrols in Syria safe zone". aa.com.tr. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
- "SDF and Kurdish YPG forces to pull from Turkey-Syria border strip -..." Reuters. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Syrian Kurds pull forces from Turkish border after safe zone deal". The National. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- Kurdistan24. "YPG withdraws forces from Syrian-Turkish border". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Turkey to implement northeast Syria plan unless controls 'safe..." Reuters. 31 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Turkey has no patience or time regarding Syria safe zone, Erdoğan says". DailySabah. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Turkey to apply its own plan if not allowed to control Syria safe-zone: Erdoğan - Turkey News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "US, allied Kurdish force conduct patrol on Syrian border". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Syria safe zone nothing more than a name, Erdoğan says". DailySabah. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Turkey is ready for Syria safe zone – Kalin". TRT World. 4 September 2019.
- Deeb, Sarah El (4 September 2019). "Kurdish official: Syria's 'safe zone' off to a good start". AP NEWS. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Joint U.S. and Turkey Reconnaissance Flight". 6 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- "Erdogan threatens to 'open gates' to Europe over buffer zone | Kathimerini". ekathimerini.com. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
- "Erdoğan: We will Let Refugees Cross into Europe If Syria Safe Zone Not Established". Bianet. 5 September 2019.
- Wallace, Danielle (5 September 2019). "Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates,' allow Syrian refugees to leave for Western countries". Fox News. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
- Agencies (5 September 2019). "Erdoğan: I'll let Syrian refugees leave Turkey for west unless safe zone set up". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
- "Turkish-US ground patrols of Syria safe zone to start Sunday". AP NEWS. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
- "Turkish-U.S. land patrols in Syria to start on Sept. 8: Anadolu". Reuters. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
- Turkey, US begin ‘safe zone’ joint patrols in north Syria
- "US and Turkey launch joint patrols in northeast Syria". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Turkey, US begin 'safe zone' joint patrols in north Syria". ABC News. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Syria says joint U.S.-Turkish patrols violate country's sovereignty". Reuters. 8 September 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- ghossoun (8 September 2019). "Syria condemns launching US-Turkish joint patrols in the Syrian al-Jazeera region". Syrian Arab News Agency. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Erdoğan cites U.S.-Turkey disagreement over safe zone as joint patrols begin in Syria". Ahval. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- İleri, Kasım (8 September 2019). "#JustIn Erdoğan: "It seems that our ally (US) is after creating a safe zone for the terror group (YPG/PKK) not for us. We reject this approach"". @kasimileri_. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Turkey says U.S. stalling on Syria 'safe zone', will act alone if..." Reuters. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- Staff, Editorial (10 September 2019). "U.S. stalling on Syria 'safe zone', Turkey will act alone if needed: FM". Kurd Net - Ekurd.net Daily News. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- "US could deploy 150 troops to Syria: report". The Hill. 13 September 2019.
- "U.S. Poised to Send 150 Troops to Patrol Northeastern Syria". The New York Times. 12 September 2019.
- "US force posture in Syria unchanged: Pentagon". aa.com.tr. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- "Erdogan says 3m refugees could be returned from Turkey to Syria 'safe zone'". RT International. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Erdogan touts grand plans to resettle Syrian refugees in safe zone". Al-Monitor. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Erdogan says 2 million-3 million Syrian refugees can be resettled..." Reuters. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Turkey to initiate own plans if safe zone deal fails". TRT World. 18 September 2019.
- Desk, News (19 September 2019). "US continues to arm Syrian Kurds despite Turkey's objections". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- Staff, Editorial (19 September 2019). "U.S. continues to arm Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan: Pentagon". Kurd Net - Ekurd.net Daily News. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Pentagon: US continues to arm Kurds in Syria". english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Turkish, US troops conduct 2nd joint patrol in north Syria". ABC News. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- "Turkish jets fly over northern Syria". aa.com.tr. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- "Turkish war planes fly over Syria in anti-IS campaign - China.org.cn". china.org.cn. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- Şafak, Yeni. "Peace corridor to solve Syria migrant crysis: President Erdoğan". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- Now, TRT World (24 September 2019). "We must increase the depth of the safe zone in northern Syria to include Deir Ezzor and Raqqa - Erdogan". @TRTWorldNow. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- Syria, S. M. M. [@smmsyria] (24 September 2019). "BREAKING / #Turkey's president #Erdogan shows map for his nation's plan to establish a 30km safety-corridor in northern #Syriapic.twitter.com/voQMVZYuNC" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 September 2019 – via Twitter.
- Schneider, Tobias [@tobiaschneider] (24 September 2019). "cool cool, announcing mass human rights violations on the #UNGA floorpic.twitter.com/G0fMuAyAMw" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 September 2019 – via Twitter.
- SDF, Coordination & Military Ops Center- [@cmoc_sdf] (24 September 2019). "Turkish president announces plans to #UNGA for mass human rights violations in NE #Syria. He plans to strip people of their land and force demographic change. He has made his plan clear to ethnic 'cleanse' Kurds from NE Syria. The people won't stand for it, we live in peace here.https://twitter.com/tobiaschneider/status/1176521727146414080 …" (Tweet). Retrieved 24 September 2019 – via Twitter.
- "Turkey's Syria 'safe zone' deadline expires". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Turkey ready to start own ops in N. Syria 'today or tomorrow' as setting up safe zone with US became 'fairytale' – Erdogan". RT International. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Erdogan says Turkey to launch military operation in northeast Syria". Reuters. 5 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Turkey ready for operation east of Euphrates in Syria, Erdoğan says". DailySabah. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- Kurdistan24. "Syrian Kurds say Turkish attack would help ISIS fighters to escape". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Secretary Esper Press Interview". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "بعد تصريحات أردوغان.. "قسد" تحفر خنادق وتحصن مواقعها شمالي الرقة". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). 5 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Battle along the borders between banks of the Tigris and Euphrates in case Turkey decides to start a military operation east Euphrates • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 6 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- Istanbul, Julian Borger Bethan McKernan in (7 October 2019). "US to let Turkish forces move into Syria, dumping Kurdish allies". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- Haltiwanger, John. "Republicans and former US officials rip into Trump for abandoning the Kurds in Syria". Business Insider. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "'Shocking': Trump Is Criticized For Pulling Troops From Syrian Border". NPR.org. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Kurds condemn US 'stab in the back' in Syria". 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- Trump, Donald J. (7 October 2019). "As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over..." @realDonaldTrump. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Donald Trump threatens to 'obliterate' Turkey's economy if it acts off limits". SBS News. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Trump warns Turkey of going too far after greenlighting Syria invasion". AFP.com. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Lindsey Graham turns on Trump over 'disaster' Syria move". The Independent. 7 October 2019.
- "Lens of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitors the withdrawal of vehicles and fighters affiliated to the Syria Democratic Forces from Al-Omar Oilfield towards the areas of Ras Al-Ayn and Tell Abyad at the border with Turkey • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- Network, Rojava (7 October 2019). "Large number of Reinforcements of SDF are sent from Raqqa and Deir ez-zor to the 370 km border of turkey. #Twitterkurds #Rojava #SDF #Turkey #TSK #Syria". @RojavaNetwork. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Lens of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitors a demonstration carried out by thousands of people in Ayn Al-Arab city (Kobani) at the border with Turkey condemning and denouncing the Turkish threats of launching a military operation in the east of Euphrates • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Syrian Kurdish official eyes possible talks with Damascus". Reuters. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- Network, Rojava (8 October 2019). "The Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Armed Forces, Mazlum Abdi: "We are considering a partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of fighting Turkish forces." #Twitterkurds #Rojava #SDF #SAA #Turkey #TSKpic.twitter.com/gARn4Rdom0". @RojavaNetwork. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- "FarsNews Agency - Syrian Kurds Resorting to Damascus after US Betrayal". en.farsnews.com. Retrieved 8 October 2019.[permanent dead link]
- "SDF Considering Partnership with Syria Against Turkey: Commander Abdi". BasNews. 8 October 2019.
- "Syrian minister urges Kurds to return to Damascus or face 'abyss'". The National. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- Desk, News (8 October 2019). "Kurdish-led SDF claim Syrian Army is preparing to capture Manbij". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- "Iraqi Kurdistan urges Russia to help Kurds in Syria". TASS. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- "Operation Peace Spring starts in N Syria: Erdogan". www.aa.com.tr. Anadolu Agency. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Turkey launches assault on Syrian Kurdish forces". AFP.com. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Turkey launches Syria invasion, Kurds ask US to enforce no-fly zone". www.cnbc.com. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- Desk, News (9 October 2019). "Syrian gov't slams new Turkish operation in Syria". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Syria 'safe zone' nothing to do with Turkey's security". rudaw.net. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Joint patrols suggest U.S. submitting to Turkey's demands - analysis". Ahval. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Syrian Safe Zone Moves U.S.-Turkey Relationship Beyond Kobani". turkeyanalyst.org. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "The emptiness of Turkey's complaints against Syrian Kurds". Washington Examiner. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Turkey re-writes international law with "safe zone" invasion doctrine - Middle East - Jerusalem Post". jpost.com. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- "Syria Government Rejects US, Turkish Safe Zone". The Syrian Observer. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey will not let Syria safe zone agreement be delayed: foreign..." Reuters. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Turkey won't let US stall operation east of Euphrates, FM Çavuşoğlu says". DailySabah. 11 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Erdoğan: I'll let Syrian refugees leave Turkey for west unless safe zone set up". The Guardian. 5 September 2019.
- "Turkey to launch own Syria plan in weeks unless has 'safe zone'..." Reuters. 31 August 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Syria safe zone nothing more than a name, Erdoğan says". DailySabah. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "Statement on Joint Military Talks Regarding Syria". U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey. 7 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Putin backs US-brokered security zone in Syria during Erdogan's Moscow visit". Al-Monitor. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "Russia follows US-Turkey safe-zone talks in Syria". aa.com.tr. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Iran Slams US 'Provocative' Plan for Syria Safe Zone". Iran Front Page. 18 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "Denmark to deploy troops to Northern Syria". Ahval. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- "Denmark plans to boost military contributions to the Sahel, Syria and NATO". The Defense Post. 7 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- "Defense Department Statement on Denmark's Deployment to Syria". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- "Syria Kurds say will help implement US-Turkey 'safe zone'". news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "Damascus rejects Turkey-US safe zone plan, Kurds give guarded welcome". France 24. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Chulov, Martin; Borger, Julian (8 August 2019). "Syria safe zone plan may just be wishful thinking". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- Stephanie Grisham (6 October 2019). "Statement from the [U.S.] Press Secretary: Foreign policy" (Read out of October 6, 2019, telephone conversation between Turkish president Erdogan and U.S. president Trump). The White House.