NATO’s ruling council will meet today for urgent talks on the Syria crisis after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike allegedly by Damascus. The losses come after weeks of growing tensions between Ankara and Damascus ally Moscow, and bring to 53 the number of Turkish security personnel killed in the province this month.
The alliance said in a statement that the North Atlantic Council, which includes the ambassadors of all 29 NATO allies, will meet in Brussels today following a request by Turkey to hold consultations under article 4 of NATO’s founding Washington Treaty on the situation in Syria.
Dozens more Turkish troops were injured in the air strike in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, where President Bashar al-Assad is seeking to wipe out the last rebel stronghold.
Under Article 4, any NATO member can request talks when they believe their “territorial integrity, political independence or security” is threatened. It is separate from the alliance’s Article 5 mutual self-defence pact, which refers to an attack on any members’ territory.