NATO hammers Turkey on Syria operation


NATO defence ministers Thursday slammed Turkey for its military operation in Syria conducted with Russia’s help, but recognised there was little they could do to sanction their strategically important ally. The first day of a two-day meeting of the ministers in Brussels was dominated by the issue, with Turkey isolated among the 29 member states because of its incursion against Kurdish fighters it considers “terrorists” but who are kaey in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described discussions as “frank and open” — euphemisms for sharp discord — and noted “we have seen disagreements before” but the transatlantic alliance has endured. He stressed that the ministers agreed on the need to “maintain our unity in the fight against ISIS,” referring to the IS group being fought in Syria, Iraq.