BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany's defense minister presented to NATO her proposal for a security zone in northern Syria on Thursday, receiving support from Turkey and the United States but also a warning from the alliance's chief it may involve the United Nations.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told allies that an internationally controlled zone would also need Russia, now the dominant power in Syria, if it was to protect displaced civilians and ensure the fight continues against Islamic State militants, diplomats said.

But she insisted at the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels that the task of patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border could not fall to Russia and Turkey alone, telling reporters: "The status quo is not a satisfactory solution."

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Editor's note: This story contains graphic images of children burned in the Turkish-led offensive.

The United Nations is investigating the possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict in northeastern Syria, according to The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh. The Kurdish Red Crescent has raised concerns about Turkish forces and Turkish-supported opposition forces using chemical weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) told The Guardian that it was "aware of the situation and is collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons," but cautioned that it has "not yet determined the credibility of these allegations."

The allegations were first reported by Lara Seligman in Foreign Policy.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Trump's recent decisions in northern Syria were ill-advised, strategically unsound, and morally shameful. In rapidly withdrawing U.S. presence and allowing a Turk offensive into Syria, we have left the Syrian Kurds behind, created a power vacuum for our adversaries to fill, and set the stage for the resurgence of ISIS.

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Turkish military equipment is transported on a street in the Turkish border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 14, 2019. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

BEIRUT/ANKARA (Reuters) - Russia-backed Syrian forces wasted no time in taking advantage of an abrupt U.S. retreat from Syria on Monday, deploying deep inside Kurdish-held territory south of the Turkish frontier less than 24 hours after Washington announced a full withdrawal.

Washington's former Kurdish allies said they had brought in the Syrian troops as an "emergency measure" to help fend off an assault by Turkey, launched last week with "a green light" from President Donald Trump that the Kurds describe as a betrayal.

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In a phone called with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, President Donald Trump reportedly advised Turkey not to invade northeastern Syria and offered to resume sales of the U.S.'s fifth-generation aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35.

Trump offered Erdogan "a really good package," in addition to other benefits and a presidential visit, a senior State Department official told Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

Erdogan is still scheduled to visit the White House in November.

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