Brussels, 2 Jumadil Akhir 1437/11 March 2016 (MINA) – NATO is set to boost border surveillance to protect its member Turkey from possible threats coming from neighboring war-torn Syria.
“We agreed with Turkey on Feb. 11 to intensify, to increase surveillance of [the] border between Turkey and Syria, we are in the process of establishing [this] with Turkey in the best possible way,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Thursday.
On Tuesday, two civilians, including one child, were killed in southern Turkey when several rockets from Syria hit the Turkish town of Kilis, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Adding that Turkey is the NATO ally most affected by the crisis in Syria, Stoltenberg said NATO already has assurance measures in Turkey, including planes, naval presence and patriot batteries, which allow the alliance to monitor the situation on the Turkish-Syrian border.
His comments come three days after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said during a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday that his country is seeking increased NATO support on the border with Syria.
“We want to see more visible NATO presence on our border, so that will create a deterrence for those that may have the intention to test the capacity of NATO,” said Davutoglu.
NATO has already agreed to send vessels to the Aegean in an attempt to crack down on human smugglers and to stem the flow of refugees seeking to enter Europe via Greece. This will allow NATO vessels to be present in both Greek and Turkish territorial waters.
“We decided to increase the number of ships; there are now five ships, there will be more ships in the coming days, and we also have helicopters, so we are increasing [the] presence of NATO vessels,” Stoltenberg said, without specifying how many more ships would be deployed in the Aegean.
“We have increased [the] area of operation, we have started to focus on the area around the Greek island of Lesbos and [are] planning to move further south in the coming days and weeks,” he added. (T/P010/R07)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)