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Turkey to push for UN-backed safe zones in Syria

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Turkey to push for UN-backed safe zones in Syria


Turkey is to renew its efforts to gain support for UN-backed safe zones inside Syria.

It comes after a Security Council meeting this week failed to deliver much beyond a French plan to channel more aid to rebel-held areas.

Despite running street battles continuing to rage in cities like Aleppo, Ankara is convinced there are so-called “liberated zones” which could serve as a refuge for civilians caught in the chaos.

Meanwhile, the head of Syria’s main opposition body says it will expand to include more groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

After a leadership meeting in Stockholm, Abdulbaset Sieda, says new measures will be taken including elections for his successor. The aim is to answer internal critics who say the Syrian National Council is divided and not up to the challenge of uniting opposition to Assad.

The news may provide a boost to Turkey’s efforts to create buffer zones. But even the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has questioned the idea saying: “bitter experience has shown that it’s rarely possible to provide effective protection for civilians.”

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