NATO chief urges for a political solution in Syria

NATO chief urges for a political solution in Syria

NATO chief urges for a political solution in Syria

Syrian children displaced by the war gather at a makeshift camp at Idlib football stadium on March 3, 2020, in the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria. (AFP Photo)

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on March 4 urged for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Stoltenberg, who is on a visit to Croatia's capital Zagreb, called on the Syrian regime and Russia to respect international law.

"NATO's deployment in the Aegean Sea remains important. But the international community needs to address the root causes of the crisis. We need to see a political solution to the conflict in Syria. So the Assad regime and Russia must end their offensive. Respect international law. And support U.N. efforts for a peaceful solution," said Stoltenberg.

Speaking about the influx of asylum seekers from Turkey to Greece, he said Greece is faced with a tough situation.

"Greece is also severely impacted by the current situation. Greece carries a heavy burden. And the challenges of migration are shared challenges that require shared solutions," said Stoltenberg.

Meanwhile, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that irregular migration had to be prevented.

"We will try to prevent the new migrant influx in cooperation with the EU and NATO," said Plenkovic.

Netherlands calls for no-fly-zone over Idlib

In the meantime, Netherlands on March 4 called for a no-fly zone over Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said: “Let us all take a step back and at least ensure that attacks from the air over Idlib are brought to a halt.

This means no more Syrian fighter aircraft or helicopters. In other words: a no-fly zone for Assad over Idlib.

“The EU needs to consult with Russia and Turkey so that Assad has no choice but to keep his air force on the ground,” he added.

Blok said he will raise this issue on March 6 at the meeting of the country's Foreign Affairs Council.

“The closure of the airspace over Idlib must then be monitored internationally, and if an airstrike should then occur in Idlib, we will at least know who is responsible,” said Blok.

He called for de-escalation to prevent armed conflict between Russia and Turkey and provide emergency aid to civilians fleeing violence in Syria.

He pledged additional humanitarian aid to civilians in Idlib and urged the international community to understand Turkey's "legitimate security concerns".