News / Middle East

    NATO: Russian Airstrikes Undermining Non-military Efforts in Syria

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, is flanked by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, right, and Netherlands’ Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Feb. 5, 2016.
    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, is flanked by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, right, and Netherlands’ Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Feb. 5, 2016.
    VOA News

    NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says Russia's airstrikes in Syria are undermining efforts to find a non-military solution to the conflict.

    Stoltenberg made the comment Friday as he arrived in Amsterdam for a meeting of European Union defense ministers.

    He said the "intense" Russian airstrikes are mainly targeting opposition groups and are causing increased tensions, as well as violations of NATO airspace and Turkish airspace.

    In another development, Syrian government forces supported by Russian warplanes recaptured a rebel-held town near Deraa, according to Hezbollah's Al Manar television and a Syrian monitoring group Friday.

    Residents inspect damage after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held Al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 4, 2016.
    Residents inspect damage after airstrikes by pro-Syrian government forces in the rebel held Al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 4, 2016.

    That news came a day after a U.N.-led donor conference pledged $10 billion for Syria humanitarian relief.

    Syrian forces seized Ataman, about 3 kilometers north of Deraa in the country's south. The assault was aided by dozens of airstrikes believed to have been carried out by Russian planes, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    In recent days, the Syrian army and its allies have also made significant advances against rebels in the northern province of Aleppo.

    The Russian-backed assaults were in part responsible for derailing peace talks in Geneva earlier this week, with Syrian government officials walking away from the talks after claiming that they had ended the rebel siege of two Shi'ite villages in Aleppo, handing President Bashar al-Assad's government a major victory.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday up to 70,000 people were headed toward his country to escape a Russian-backed offensive led by government troops around Aleppo.

    The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to meet Friday for consultations with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura over the breakdown in negotiations, which were suspended until February 25.

    Syrians wait to enter Turkey at the Bab al-Salam border gate, Syria, Feb. 3, 2016. Turkish officials say thousands of Syrians have massed on the Syrian side of the border seeking refuge in Turkey.
    Syrians wait to enter Turkey at the Bab al-Salam border gate, Syria, Feb. 3, 2016. Turkish officials say thousands of Syrians have massed on the Syrian side of the border seeking refuge in Turkey.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: baba Voenga from: underground
    February 08, 2016 4:18 AM
    What a beautiful, rejoicing, glad, contented smiling people on the first photo!
    What a wonderful world! As Armstrong sang.
    Are they concerned about some "Non-military Efforts in Syria", "Russian Airstrikes Undermining" something? Are they capable to change smth, to fight against smb, to do smth real, useful, essential for syrians? (free of charge?) Don't believe!

    by: Anonymous
    February 05, 2016 12:30 PM
    Translation: Russia is not letting NATO and Turkey to supply arms to AQ aka opposition, moderate rebels and many other b.s. names.

    by: Igor
    February 05, 2016 10:54 AM
    People are increasingly fed up with systematical lies coming out from Nato's leader. Covering up the criminal activities of its allies: Turkey - a terrorist sponsoring state. In fact the so-called rebels are nothing more than a handful of terrorist groups which receive money, weapons from the West to turn Syria into a hell of civil war. People are begining to realize that Nato is a band of pirates.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 05, 2016 8:41 AM
    [Think about this?] .. The Russian and Syrian army blitzkrieg advance against the terrorist groups in Syria is forcing the US and NATO hands to take some type of military action? .. The US, NATO and their Sunni Muslim allies either have to eventually setup a safe-haven for the fleeing terrorists in Syria, [or], setup an Australian rabbit hunt fence to catch the terrorists before they escape into Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan? .. Russia and the Syrian army is showing the US and NATO how to defeat the terrorists in Syria and eventually in Iraq, [but], like pouting children they won't join the Russians in eliminating the terrorists in Syria and Iraq?

    [The third choice?] .. The US, NATO and their Sunni Muslim allies must get a Russian and Syrian army ceasefire and frozen battle lines to rearm, resupply and reposition the terrorists they support, and still try to get the Shia Muslim Assad replaced with a handpicked Sunni Muslim president? .. With only (one year) left as president, Obama is getting desperate, he either has to help the Russians and Syrian army defeat the terrorists, [or], help the Sunni Muslim terrorists escape the Russian and Syrian army juggernaut, because his term as president expires in one year? .. And the next US president might want to help the Russians defeat the terrorists worldwide? .. think about it?

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