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NATO urges Turkey to focus on the Islamic State threat in Syria

NATO urges Turkey to focus on the Islamic State threat in Syria

October 23, 2019 » Today News » /

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Wednesday for a political resolution to the conflict in Syria and urged Turkey to focus on the threat posed by Islamic State (ISIS).

Stoltenberg said recent developments underscored the urgent need for a political solution in Syria, where Turkey has launched an offensive targeting Syrian Kurdish forces, AP said.

“Ending IS was the reason NATO went in (to northeastern Syria). We have to preserve those gain,” Stoltenberg said. “We also have to understand that the fight against IS is not over, they can come back.”

As U.S. troops withdrew from the region, Turkey launched a military operation in northeast Syria on Oct. 9 targeting the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which led the ground offensive against ISIS in Syria.

Turkey sees the YPG as an existential threat due to its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has battled for Kurdish autonomy for more than three decades in southeast Turkey at the cost of 40,000 lives.

The U.S. withdrawal and Turkish offensive have led to concerns about the resurgence of the extremists.

Turkey and Russia on Tuesday agreed to halt the Turkish operation and deploy Russian and Syrian troops along the rest of the border to fill the void left by the abrupt U.S. withdrawal.

Stoltenberg said it was too early to judge the consequences of the agreement between Russia and Turkey.

The deal sees the withdrawal of the YPG from border areas beginning at noon on Wednesday facilitated by Russian military police and Syrian border guards.

Source: Ahval News