The agreement between the United States and Turkey to establish some form of protected zone in northern Syria that is free of the extremist Islamic State heralds a potentially significant shift in Syria’s grueling civil war.
Jordan is considering a buffer zone in the south of Syria as well.
Jordan also has been considering the benefits and costs of establishing a similar zone in southern Syria. But Jordan, which still has diplomatic ties with Syria, is adopting a more cautious approach.
Jordanian officials say the motivation for creating a buffer would be to confront a proximate threat, such as the deployment of IS along the border.
Under plans drawn up some months ago, the proposed zone would extend some 20 miles into Syria. It would be policed by moderate rebels and militias formed of the minority Druze sect, with the Jordanian army providing artillery and air support.
“We believe we have partners on the ground who know the terrain and will be better equipped to enforce the zone,” says a Jordanian military official with knowledge of the plans.
In theory, a buffer zone could would allow for the return of 65 percent of the 1.4 million Syrian refugees living in Jordan who come from the city of Deraa and surrounding villages.
It may be finally getting toward time for an exit for Assad. Another thing to talk to our new "friends" in Iran about?
Last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad admitted that his weakened army will have to abandon some areas of the country, signaling the anticipated pullback to more defendable regime lines between Damascus and the Mediterranean coast.
He has more lives than a cat, though.