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Monday, April 23, 2018, 

NATO backs Turkey's 'transparency' on Syria operation

NATO backs Turkey

Ankara, 16 April 2018 (MIA) - NATO welcomes Turkey's "transparency" in its ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria, the alliance chief said on Monday.

"[Foreign] Minister Cavusoglu briefed me on Operation Olive Branch, and I am grateful for Turkey’s continued transparency on this," Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, reported Anadolu Agency.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear the terrorist groups YPG/PKK and Daesh from Afrin, northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.

Stoltenberg said Turkey "really" did a lot for the alliance despite facing "serious" security challenges.

"No other NATO ally has suffered as many terrorist attacks as Turkey," he pointed out. "And you are the ally most exposed to the instability in this region."

The NATO chief said Turkey plays a "key" role in the alliance, contributing to NATO operations and to the fight against Daesh.

Јенс Столтенберг и Мевљут Чавушоглу

Cavusoglu said he and Stoltenberg discussed several regional issues, including Syria, Libya, Iraq, and a NATO summit set for July in Brussels.

He said Stoltenberg had visited Turkey seven times now, adding: "This is a sign of the importance placed on Turkey as an ally."

The Turkish foreign minister said Turkey supports NATO's enlargement process and backs the membership processes of Georgia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the news agency reported.

He said Turkey was fighting against all kinds of terrorist organizations, adding: "We are waiting for more support from NATO in our fight against terrorism."

Stoltenberg said the two sides also discussed the "horrendous" suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma region.

"NATO strongly condemns the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime as a threat to international peace and security. Those responsible must be held accountable," he added.

The chief reiterated there was no military solution to this conflict and NATO "fully" supports efforts led by the UN.

Stoltenberg thanked Turkey for supporting the U.S.-led joint airstrike against the Assad regime.

The U.S., U.K., and France early Saturday launched airstrikes on reported Assad regime chemical weapons facilities in Syria. ba/16:41

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