NATO will continue to support Turkey including by augmenting its air defenses
Ambassadors of all 29 NATO Allies met in the North Atlantic Council on Friday, February 28, 2020, following a request by Turkey to hold consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty on the situation in Syria. Under article 4 of the Treaty, any Ally can request consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.
U.S. and Turkish troops during a joint patrol in the Northern Syria Buffer Zone, 4 October 2019. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
On February 19, 2020, Turkey has informed NATO of its plans for a cross-border operation into Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib and has requested for the alliance to enforce a no fly zone over the region ahead of the offensive.
On February 27, 2020, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed after a Syrian government airstrike on its forces in northwestern Syria. Turkey has had 54 soldiers killed in Syria's northwestern Idlib province since the beginning of February, including the latest fatalities.
Turkish soldiers are deployed in Syria to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region. But More than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
The NATO meeting is a clear sign of solidarity with Turkey. Turkey is a valued NATO Ally and Turkey is the NATO Ally most affected by the terrible conflict in Syria, which has suffered the most terrorist attacks, and which hosts millions of refugees.
NATO continues to support Turkey with a range of measures, including by augmenting its air defenses. This helps Turkey against the threat of missile attacks from Syria.