NATO concerned by Russian military activities in Syria

NATO chief Stoltenberg says organisation is concerned by Russian military activities in Syria

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 8, 2015.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Monday that the fragile deal on cessation of hostilities in Syria appeared to be largely holding but the NATO was concerned by Russian military activities in Syria.

Speaking in a news briefing in the Gulf Arab state of Kuwait, Stoltenberg said, "We have seen some encouraging developments that the ceasefire is largely holding but at the same time we have seen some reports about violations of the ceasefire."

"This agreement and the full implementation of the agreement is the best possible basis for renewing the efforts to find a political negotiated peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria," he added.

Syrian regime forces patrol near Aleppo's thermal power plant after they took control of the area on the eastern outskirts of Syria's northern on February 21, 2016. (AFP)

The US and Russia have agreed on a draft to call for a cessation of hostilities in Syria to begin on Feb. 27.

The deal does not include DAESH, the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and any other group designated as terrorist group by the UN Security Council. Both the US and Russia continue to target those terrorist groups with air strikes in Syria.

However, Syrian regime and Russia say they will continue to target opposition forces. After this declaration, oppositions state they are worried about this stance and it may be used to legitimate attacks against oppositions.

"We are concerned," Stoltenberg said, "about the significant Russian military build-up we have seen in Syria with the ground troops, with the naval forces in eastern Mediterranean and with air forces conducting air strikes."

A Syrian man comforts a boy amid the rubble of buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo, on February 4, 2016. (AFP)


France calls for meeting over violations of Syria ceasefire

France called for an emergency meeting of the Syria taskforce to talk over violations of the cessation of hostilities, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated on Monday.

Ayrault told reporters at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that he received information about attacks against moderate opposition-held areas in Syria.

According to the Syrian Center for Policy Research, 470,000 Syrians have been killed and 1,900,000 others have been injured while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the number of dead in Syrian civil war is estimated to be more than 370,000 between March 18, 2011, and Feb. 22, 2016.

At least 11 million have fled their homes and a great majority of them have been living neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

More than a million refugees have reached Europe, while Turkey hosts the most in the world, opening its doors to almost 2.7 million Syrian fleeing civil war.

TRTWorld and agencies