Nato chief calls on Turkey to show ‘restraint’ in Syria operation

October 11, 2019

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, speaks with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a meeting in Istanbul on Friday.  —Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, speaks with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a meeting in Istanbul on Friday. —Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP

“While Turkey has serious security concerns, we expect Turkey to act with restraint.”

Stoltenberg emphasised that Turkey was an important part of the Nato alliance, but said the operation in Syria, which began on Wednesday, should not undermine gains against the militant Islamic State group.

“These gains must not be jeopardised. An imminent concern is that captured Daesh prisoners must not be allowed to escape,” he said, using an alternative name for the militant IS.

Turkey considers Kurdish militants in northern Syria a “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.

It wants a 30-kilometre (20-mile) wide buffer zone along the border, which can also serve as an area to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.

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