NATO condemns Russian military action in Syria

Defense ministers from 28 NATO member nations have denounced Russia’s increasing military activities in Syria.

The ministers discussed the Syrian situation at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, a day after Russia fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria from the Caspian Sea.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference that the ministers agreed that Russia’s military escalation in Syria raises serious concerns. He described Russia’s support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as not helpful.

NATO has not been directly involved in the US-led campaign in Syria. But it is expressing concern about a possible unintended clash between Western and Russian forces.

The alliance intends to strengthen the defense of its member countries, including updating its response force, apparently with threats from Russia in mind.

It will also closely share information with the US-led coalition working to drive Islamic State fighters from Syria.

The Russian military began airstrikes last month, claiming they were going to target Islamic State positions. But earlier this month Russian fighter jets violated the airspace of Turkey, a NATO member.


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