On Thursday, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement to implement a 120-hour ceasefire in northeast Syria to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish People's Protection Units' (YPG) forces. All military operations under Turkey's Peace Spring will be paused and the operation will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.
“That [the agreement] is important as it can provide a basis for progress and de-escalating the situation. And that is exactly why I welcome the fact that those two allies have agreed [on the ceasefire],” Stoltenberg said at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
He pointed out that all NATO member states were concerned over the situation in northeastern Syria.
“The situation in northeast Syria is a concern for all NATO allies and it matters for all NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the military operation may deteriorate the humanitarian situation in the area and increase the number of refugees.
According to the secretary-general, NATO’s main goal in the region is to defeat the Daesh* terror group and next week the alliance’s defence ministers will meet to discuss the issue once again.
Turkey launched its offensive in northeastern Syria on October 9 to clear the border area of Kurdish units after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw US troops from the area.
Damascus has called the Turkish operation an invasion and deployed its troops to the north of the country. The international community has condemned the Turkish operation.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State/IS), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a wide number of other countries.