Growing Concern in NATO over Turkey’s Action

Posted on October 16, 2019

NATO Chief Voices ‘Deep Concern’ About Turkish Military Action In Syria

NATO’s Secretary General has voiced “deep concern” about member state Turkey’s military involvement in northern Syria and its potential consequences.

Jens Stoltenberg met with Boris Johnson, at 10 Downing Street earlier on Tuesday.

They discussed Turkey’s launching of an air and ground offensive, following the withdrawal of US troops.

Mr Stoltenberg said: “I am deeply concerned about the consequences.

“Both when it comes to the fight against Daesh, human suffering, and stability in the wider region.”

Asked about the suspension of new arms licences to Turkey by member nations, he said: “It reflects that many NATO allies are very critical and are condemning the military operation in northern Syria.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on Turkey to exercise “maximum restraint and to bring an end to this unilateral military action.”

“This is not the action we expected from an ally.

“It is reckless, it is counter-productive and it plays straight into the hands of Russia and indeed the Assad regime.”

Turkey has been hitting suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near a town in north-east Syria.

Reports have claimed heavy bombardment of targets in the Ras al-Ayn countryside, several days after Turkey’s announcement it had captured the border town.

Kurdish forces had retaken the town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A Turkish military official denied reports that Turkey had begun an assault on the Kurdish-held town of Manbij.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a Wall Street Journal article, called on the international community to back the initiative, or “begin admitting refugees” from Syria.

Syria says its forces are entering Manbij as part of an agreement with the Kurds to defend Manbij from Turkish attack – as the US continues plans to evacuate the area.

It comes as US President Donald Trump says he will soon issue an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to its attack on the Syrian Kurds.

The US President has previously threatened to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the NATO member acts inhumanely, now freezing trade negotiations with the nation and raising steel tariffs.

NATO is expected to discuss Turkey’s actions in the coming days.

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