NATO ambassadors will meet on Friday to hold consultations about developments in Syria at Turkey’s request after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in a Syrian airstrike in the Idlib region. It’s been called under Article 4 of the Alliance’s Treaty, which members can convene in consultation if they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke to the BBC’s Today programme about the motivation behind the attack, accusing Putin-led Russia of “playing an active role” in the “very dangerous situation” between Syria and Turkey.
When asked if he was convicted Russia had a “big part to play” in the incident, Mr Stoltenberg told Radio 4: “There is no doubt that Russia is playing an active role in Syria and also in the Idlib province.
“They have conducted airstrikes many many times in that region.
“What we have to avoid now is an escalation.
“I call on all parties to deescalation this very dangerous situation.”
He continued: “And especially avoid further worsening of the horrendous humanitarian situation.
“We have seen hundreds of thousands of people being forced to flee their homes.
“We see a growing migrant and refugee crisis so this is something we all have to do whatever we can to deescalate to avoid further human suffering.
On whether he agreed that this constituted as a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity, security or independence, the NATO official said: “Well this is an Article in NATO’s founding treaty, which states clearly that any ally can request consultations with the other allies.”
Mr Stoltenberg added: “I think that Turkey is in a difficult situation.
“Because they are bordering Syria, they are the NATO ally the most affected by the turmoil, the violence we see in Syria and Iraq.
“No other ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey.”
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He continued: “They host close to four million refugees so therefore we need to provide support to Turkey.
“We augment their air defences and we also have other measures in Turkey to support Turkey.
“I expressed my condolences to Turkish officials.
“I also restated NATO allies condemnation of indiscriminate bombing in many different targets in the Idlib province.
“I call on the Assad regime and Russia to stop all the airstrikes and engage in a constructive manner in UN-led efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis in Syria.”
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