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Turkey presses safe zone idea for Syria after recapture of key town

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While the siege on Aleppo continues and the bombardments intensify, some 100 miles north is the newly freed town of Jarabulus, right by the Turkish-Syrian border.

Jarabulus is the first step of Turkey's Euphrates Shield Operation that started on 24 August. It gives us a glimpse of what Turkey had been advocating for years, a safe zone.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly defended the idea, stating in a speech earlier this month: "The problem of terrorism and the refugee problem will be resolved when we secure Syrian soils step by step."

This little town that had been under Islamic State rule for more than three years is now considered "safe".

No bombings, no fighting and no IS.

Some 1,500 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, backed by Turkish armed forces, took the border town swiftly and without effort after IS had melted away.

It is now self-governed under the helm and the security of the Syrian rebel FSA fighters and the distant control of the Turkish armed forces, although FSA soldiers in the town say they would not be there without Turkey's support.

The population of Jarablus has flooded back, enjoying the benefits of Turkey's largesse: a new hospital, schools, housing and crucially - peace.

: Aleppo's children forced to pick through rubbish to survive

The safe zone idea has become more concrete with Jarabulus, but the international community is still undecided on this Turkish project.

President Erdogan has been pushing it and has been very vocal about the viability of his plan.

He told world leaders at the recent G20 summit that "a no-fly zone could be set up there, and that was my suggestion to both Obama and Putin".

But while Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his EU counterparts meet to consider options for Aleppo, Turkish officials are already implementing a plan to create a safe zone stretching west from Jarabulus along the Turkey-Syria border for some 55 miles.

That safe zone could also stretch up to 37 miles into Syria which would put the FSA within spitting distance of the Syrian regime forces encircling the besieged city.

There are complications though. A no-fly zone would pit any nation operating it up against Turkey's new friend Russia and of course Bashar al Assad's air force.

The project is also looked upon with suspicion by the Kurds and it still needs the backing of a nervous international community together with Russia to be viable.

The rapprochement between Russia and Turkey might spark a glimmer of hope when tensions are rising high between Moscow and the western capitals.

With Euphrates Shield, Turkey has shown it is adamant about being part of a solution to the Syrian problem.

If it can help provide a solution to get aid into Aleppo city before it crumbles completely, the international community may yet be relieved of its own burden.

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