NATO not to be involved in Syrian conflict

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says NATO military alliance has no plans to take part in Syrian conflict, that could be possibly prolonged as result of Russian intervention

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 8, 2015.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that the NATO military alliance will not take part in the current Syrian conflict, adding Russia's intervention in Syria can potentially prolong the war.

Stoltenberg spoke to NATO's parliamentary assembly meeting in Norway where he said Russia’s continued support for Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad is only serving to prolong the crisis there.

Russia started its air strikes in Syria on September 30, with initial aim of battling ISIS militancy, however, in time the Russian intentions in Syria appeared to be to only protect the Bashar al Assad regime and withering authorities.

"Russia should play a constructive role in the fight against (ISIS). To support the Assad regime is not constructive. This is only prolonging the war in Syria," said Stoltenberg. 

"There are also no plans for NATO as an alliance to go into Syria."

Russia and Iran have been backing the Syrian regime since the beginning of the four-year war in Syria which claimed more than 250,000 Syrians, whilst, half of the country’s population are displaced internally or in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and in Europe.

NATO have previously accused Russia of violating Turkish air space during its air strikes inside Syria.

The US President Barack Obama has also criticised Russia’s recent military intervention in the war in Syria, saying it is a sign of Moscow’s weakness, brushing off criticism that Washington had been caught off guard by the recent offensive.

Speaking in an interview on Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme, the US president said, “Today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria, which they’ve had for a long time, Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally.”

“The fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength, it’s an indication that their strategy did not work."

TRTWorld and agencies