| ORSAM Report No: 115
Arguments on Safe Havens in Syria: Risks, opportunities and Scenarios for Turkey
-The truth, brought out following a year since the beginning of the unrest in Syria, is the fact that the power struggle in Syria has fairly turned into a wrist wrestling and that it is almost impossible both for the regime and dissidents to turn back from their positions. It seems that the struggle will continue until the regime topples or Syrian dissidents are suppressed.
- There is an asymmetrical power between the Syrian army and military opposition. This fact leads us to the conclusion that “It is quite difficult to change the Assad regime without foreign actors’ taking military measures or without providing the military opposition with foreign support”. Thus, more concrete and strict foreign policy options for the actors arguing for the regime change in Syria were started to be discussed. Within this framework, safe haven option comes to the forefront.
- These following points should be taken into consideration while establishing safe haven: Ethnic, religious, sectarian distribution of the population living in places, where safe haven is considered to be established. The relations of locals with the Syrian regime and dissidents, and their outlook on the uprising. The locals’ outlook on Turkey, and how they will approach to the establishment of safe haven. The presence of non-state actors that might pose a safety threat for Turkey in the region. And lastly, the geographic situation of the region.
- Establishing the safe haven to be created in Syria in a very limited zone can cause trouble both in terms of humanitarian accommodation and also in terms of the military protection. Therefore, if safe haven is going to be established; it should, at least, be 20 kilometers deep. However the borderline of this zone within Syria will not be a straight line. Considering geographic conditions and settlements, the borderline might be drawn to places closer to Turkey. Of course, military protection will be required for the region both by land and by air. The safe haven will serve, above all, for reception of Syrian civilian people escaping from the operations of Syrian army before entering in Turkish territories and for their accommodation without any security risk. Thus, Turkey will try to prevent economic and social problems to be created as a result of mass migration waves. The answer to the question regarding what the ultimate goal of establishing safe haven will be should shed light on where and how the safe haven will be created.
1. Process towards the Arguments on Military Measures for the Solution of Syrian Problem
a. Arms Aid for Syrian Dissidents
b. Establishing Safe Haven
2. The General View of the Line Planned to be Established Safe Haven
a. Latakia Province – Turkey Borderline
b. Idlib Province – Turkey Borderline
c. Aleppo Province – Turkey Borderline
d. Raqqah Province – Turkey Borderline
e. Hasakah Province – Turkey Borderline
3. Possible Safe Haven Lines
a. The Safest Line
b. The Line with the Highest Risk
c. Low Risk Maximum Benefit
d. Alternative Line