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Germany's Syria peace proposals welcomed by US and NATO

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Wednesday 23 Oct 2019

Germany's Syria peace proposals welcomed by US and NATO

(Sharecast News) - A proposal from German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for an international coalition to stabilise Northern Syria was welcomed by the US and other NATO allies on Wednesday.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said the peace plan, which will be presented to NATO members in Brussels on Thursday, would involve both the establishment of a safe zone for displaced civilians and the continuation of the fight against Islamic State militants.

"This security zone would seek to resume the fight against terror and against the Islamic State, which has currently come to a standstill. It would also ensure that we stabilize the region so that rebuilding civilian life is once again possible, and so that those who have fled can also return voluntarily," said the defence minister.

Conflict in Syria has ramped up since Turkish forces launched an offensive into the North East of the country on 9 October on the precedent of expelling Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces troops from the region and creating a zone to resettle Syrian refugees.

It is unclear whether there will be any overlap between the two separate safe zones mentioned in Turkish plans and in those of Kramp-Karrenbauer.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that any solution would need to involve "all actors on the ground", meaning that Russia, who on Tuesday agreed to send troops to patrol the Turkish-Syrian border, may also be required to consent.

Meanwhile, US NATO ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said the plan was "positive" but also voiced uncertainty over how Russia's new involvement in the conflict would affect proposals.

Hutchinson added that she did not think US involvement was "in the works right now at all", stating that she did not see what role Washington had to play after its European allies had stepped forward.

The conflict began after US President Donald Trump abruptly ordered a withdrawal of troops from the region, which critics lambasted as a green light for Turkish President Recep Erdogan to attack Kurdish forces who had fought alongside American troops against Islamic State.

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