Speaking on Turkish television, the foreign minister said such a broad-based international group is urgently needed to prevent the Syrian crisis from sinking the region into “a phase of instability.”
Last year, Turkey was instrumental in creation of the Libya Contact Group, the group of countries that helped coordinate international humanitarian assistance to the civilian population under attack by the forces of former leader Muammar Qaddafi. The group also provided a platform of support for Libya’s coalescing opposition forces.
Two of the ideas gaining attention in international humanitarian circles, which the group might consider: establishing “safe havens” for beleaguered civilian populations, akin to those NATO enforced in Bosnia in the early 1990s; creating a “buffer zone” inside Syria along the Turkish border for civilians.
The US has so far taken a cautious approach to such proposals, with administration officials insisting the focus remains on supporting the Syrian people without fanning the conflict’s flames.