Qatar welcomes Trump’s call for Syria safe zones

Syrian girls, who fled the ongoing conflict in Syria, stand in line at an all girls school in the south of Khartoum. (AFP)

Qatar, a backer of rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, welcomed US President Donald Trump’s pledge to order safe zones in Syria, a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by state news agency QNA on Thursday.

Trump said on Wednesday he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for refugees fleeing violence. According to a document seen by Reuters, Trump is expected to order the Pentagon and the State Department in the coming days to come up with a plan for the zones.

Qatar’s foreign ministry director of information, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, said in a statement that Qatar welcomed Trump’s comments on Wednesday and “emphasized the need to provide safe havens in Syria and to impose no-fly zones to ensure the safety of civilians”.

Rumaihi said Qatar hoped recent negotiations in Kazakhstan would help maintain a shaky truce between Syria’s warring parties and that an effective monitoring mechanism would be needed to create conditions for proposed peace talks in Geneva.

Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman says Donald Trump's administration did not consult Russia before announcing the plan to establish safe zones for refugees in Syria.

"No, our American partners did not consult with us. It's a sovereign decision," Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

"It is important that this [plan] does not exacerbate the situation with refugees, but probably all the consequences ought to be weighed up."

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50