FM Çavuşoğlu discuss Idlib with NATO chief

FM Çavuşoğlu discuss Idlib with NATO chief

FM Çavuşoğlu discuss Idlib with NATO chief

Turkish foreign minister and NATO chief spoke over the phone to discuss the latest situation in Idlib, northwestern Syria, and issues pertaining to migrants, state-run Anadolu Agency said on March 2.

Jens Stoltenberg expressed his solidarity with Turkey during his phone talk with Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, the agency cited anonymous sources as saying. 

Earlier, Çavuşoğlu also had phone talks with his Finnish and Spanish counterparts Pekka Haavisto and Arancha Gonzalez Laya, respectively.

In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on March 2 that he discussed the situation in Syria with Stoltenberg.

"Turkey obviously is engaged in combat operations over there and we will take it one step at a time," Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.

"As an alliance, we take this one step at a time so we are prepared for what may happen."

Idlib is currently home to four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

In recent months, nearly 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks by the Assad regime and its allies.

Esper further said what Turkey does on its borders regarding refugees and migrants is "its own decision to make."

"Turkey's got to make that decision," said Esper.

"At the political level, they need to decide what they're going to do with regard to their borders. That involves the EU and their neighboring countries, and they've got to work their way through that with them," he added.

The Trump administration is considering additional humanitarian assistance for those within Syria, said Esper who denied the U.S. is weighing air support.