Smoke from an airstrike, allegedly carried out by Russian and Syrian forces warplanes in the town of Sarmin, northern of the rebel-held Idlib province (Picture: PA).
Syria

Turkish President Calls For 'Concrete Support' Over Syria

Recep Erdogan told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that Turkey is making a major sacrifice in Syria.

Smoke from an airstrike, allegedly carried out by Russian and Syrian forces warplanes in the town of Sarmin, northern of the rebel-held Idlib province (Picture: PA).

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has called for "concrete support" from his NATO allies in Syria.

On a visit to Brussels, he told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that Turkey is making a major sacrifice in Syria, where it lost more than 50 soldiers last month.

At the joint press conference, the Turkish leader labelled the crisis in Syria a threat "against all of Europe" and said "no European country has the luxury to remain indifferent to the clashes and the humanitarian tragedy in Syria". 

Pointing to Turkey's prolonged efforts against Daesh and its housing of over 3.7 million displaced Syrian refugees, the leader said his country now expects support from all its allies "without laying down political conditions".

In response to Mr Erdogan's comments, the NATO Secretary General said the alliance would "continue to support Turkey".

Jens Stoltenberg with Recep Erdogan
Jens Stoltenberg (left) told the Turkish leader (right) of NATO's "strong commitment to Turkey's security" (Picture: NATO).

"This includes defensive missile systems, helping to protect Turkey against threats from Syria," Mr Stoltenberg said.

"We also support Turkey with air and naval presence."

"And over the years, NATO has invested more than 5 billion US dollars in military facilities in Turkey."

Mr Stoltenberg added that while he recognises "Turkey is carrying a heavy burden" with nearly four million refugees in the country: "Turkey must play its part in finding a longer-term solution to this crisis."

Last week Defence Secretary Ben Wallace labelled Russian and Syrian attacks in Idlib "tantamount to war crimes" during a visit to the Pentagon.

Speaking at the meeting with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Mr Wallace called for action from the international community.

"There’s an obligation on most of the civilised countries in the world to deal with what is a massively emerging humanitarian crisis in Idlib," said the British Defence Secretary.

Currently, Idlib remains under a hastily agreed ceasefire after further escalations in violence.

Cover image: An airstrike allegedly carried out by Russian and Syrian forces near Idlib earlier this month (Picture: PA).