A damaged street with sandbags used as barriers in Aleppo’s Saif al-Dawla district. REUTERS/Hosam Katan
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Turkey will have to strike a balance between the conflicting goals of Russia and the United States if it is to achieve its ambition of a "safe zone" in northern Syria and build on an incursion which gave it control of a thin strip of the border.Turkey's offensive into northern Syria, launched with its Syrian rebel allies two weeks ago, has created what officials in Ankara are already calling a "de facto safe zone," driving Daesh militants from the last 90-km strip of border territory they still controlled.Turkey now wants international support for a deeper operation to take control of a rectangle of territory stretching about 40 km into Syria, a buffer between two Kurdish-held cantons to the east and west and against Daesh to the south.Ahmed Osman, commander of the Sultan Murad rebel group, one of the Turkish-backed forces, told Reuters he would like to see a permanent "safe zone" but that this would require an agreement between Turkey, the United States and Russia.
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