US President Donald Trump to order plan for Syria 'safe zones'

President Donald Trump is expected to order the Pentagon and the State Department in coming days to craft a plan for setting up 'safe zones' for refugees in Syria, according to a document seen by Reuters.

(REUTERS) - "It's a catastrophe. I mean - it's a mess."

In a move that could plunge the US deeper into Syria's civil war, new US President Donald Trump is ready to order a plan from the Pentagon setting up "safe zones" for refugees in in the war-ravaged country.

According to a document seen by Reuters, the safe zones would be for displaced Syrian nationals to "await firm resettlement such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement".

The creation of safe zones would mark a major departure from former President Obama's cautious approach.

The document gave no details on what would constitute a safe zone, where they might be set up and who would defend them.

It would require increased US or allied air power if Mr Trump chooses to go through with it and would raise questions about how to avoid confrontation with the Russian forces in Syria helping to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power.

"I call it 'extreme vetting', right."

Mr Trump's call for a safe zone comes as part of a larger directive expected to include a temporary ban on refugees to the US.

Immigrants from Syria and six other nations in the Middle East and Africa would also be blocked for 30 days - a modified version of Mr Trump's campaign promise to ban all Muslims from entering the US - with the executive orders expected in the coming days.