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Northern Syria: NATO Forms Crisis Staff for Turkish Offensive


Turkey can expect "no support" in northern Syria - according to a newspaper report that made it clear to several NATO partners. In the case of a counter-attack, they want to deny Ankara the assistance of Article 5.

In view of the Turkish offensive against the Kurdish militias in northern Syria, NATO has formed a crisis team. This reports the "World on Sunday", citing Nato circles. Accordingly, the task force should deal with the Turkish military operation and its possible consequences. The panel included intelligence and security experts, military experts and political advisors.

According to the report, at a meeting of 29 NATO ambassadors in the so-called North Atlantic Council last Wednesday, Turkey agreed to keep NATO partners constantly informed of attacks, refugee movements and damage in the area. In addition, Ankara made it clear internally in the alliance that the attacks in northern Syria should be continued into the first half of November.

Just one day after the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, US Vice President Mike Pence, after long negotiations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had announced an agreement for a five-day ceasefire for northern Syria. Whether the plan will be pursued by the Turkish side even further, is therefore unclear. Most recently, Turkey and the Kurdish militias accused each other of violating the ceasefire.

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At the Wednesday meeting, according to the report, it was also clear that, unlike planned, France would not station anti-aircraft missiles in the south of Turkey and Spain would at the same time withdraw its anti-aircraft missiles. Spain does not want to take over air traffic control alone.

According to security experts, the consequence could be that Turkey will in future station the controversial Russian S-400 defense system on the border with Syria in order to protect itself against possible rocket attacks from Syria.

No assistance under Article 5 in case of counterattack

According to "Welt am Sonntag" in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council especially Germany, France, Albania, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg made clear that Ankara could expect from them "no support" in connection with the offensive in northern Syria. Therefore, Turkey could not count on Article 5 assistance in the event of a counterattack from Syria to Turkish territory and a request to NATO. This would require a unanimous decision of all 29 NATO member states.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, David McAllister (CDU), called on the EU and NATO to increase the pressure on Ankara. "President Erdogan must be signaled that the operation is unacceptable, otherwise the conflict could escalate after the end of the ceasefire," he told the newspaper.

The truce agreed on Thursday could only be "a first step" to avoid another humanitarian disaster in Syria. The EU and its NATO partners should therefore "make every effort to ensure that the NATO Council deals with the situation in northern Syria and condemns the Turkish offensive".

Source: spiegel

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