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Closed Airspace Above Syria Become More Relevant

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BAKU – The issue of introducing closed airspace over northern Syria was discussed in 2015. The Turkish authorities, in particular, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has repeatedly urged NATO and international coalition forces to ensure closed airspace over the northern Syria.

Today, this issue is more relevant than ever, Trend news agency reports. Earlier when Turkey first put forward the idea of closing the airspace over northern Syria, the territories were mainly controlled by militants of the “Islamic State” (IS, ISIL, ISIS or Daesh) and the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD, the Kurdish political party).

However, after the Turkish Armed Forces’ recent military operation entitled “Shield of the Euphrates” and the joint efforts of the international coalition and the Free Syrian Army, the balance of forces in northern Syria, has greatly changed.

The IS militants’ strongholds have been fully destroyed in northern Syria, while YPG and PYD militants are retreating from the strategically important city of Manbij.

The fact that currently the FSA military units control nearly half of the areas in northern Syria became the main result of the “Shield of the Euphrates” operation.

North-west of Syria is currently under control of the government troops and north-east of the country is under control of the YPG and the PYD.

From the first day of the military operation by Turkish Armed Forces it became clear that its purpose is not only to eliminate the danger posed by the IS, but create a security zone in northern Syria, which is just as important.

On Sept 5, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a long pause again raised the issue to introduce the airspace restrictions over Syria.

Erdogan said that the country has offered the US and Russia to close the airspace in northern Syria over the territories liberated from the IS.

After this statement by Erdogan, Turkish media reported that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will have a two day visit to the country from Thursday. This will be his first visit to Turkey after the military coup attempt in the country.

Moreover, a source in Turkish armed forces told Trend Tuesday that during Stoltenberg’s visit, Ankara and NATO can discuss the closure of airspace in northern Syria, on all the territories liberated from the militants of the “Islamic State” terrorist group.

If Turkey and NATO agree on closing the airspace in northern Syria, this will be the most important step in fighting the IS and can completely change the balance of power in favor of the Free Syrian Army. -BERNAMA

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