NATO voices concern after Syria-Turkey border shooting
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
The border crossing between Turkey and Syria is seen from a refugee camp near the border, in Kilis , Turkey. AP photoNATO said today it takes its responsibility to defend allies "extremely seriously" after member state Turkey said it may seek help after shootings along its border with Syria.
"We are deeply concerned by events in Syria, particularly the recent incidents on the border with our ally Turkey," NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero told AFP.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that he may invoke NATO's Article 5, which says an attack on a member constitutes an attack on all allies, following the incident.
"We take our responsibility to protect NATO allies extremely seriously," Romero said.
"We are monitoring the situation very closely and will continue to do so." NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted last week that the alliance has "no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria" as he pressed for a diplomatic solution to a brutal crackdown on dissidents.
But Erdoğan was quoted by Today's Zaman newspaper on Wednesday as saying that "NATO has a responsibility to protect Turkish borders." The Turkish government reacted furiously after shots fired from Syria wounded four Syrians and two Turkish staff working at a refugee camp in Turkey on Monday.
The NATO spokeswoman said the alliance fully supports the peace plan put forward by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
"Now the whole international community must make every effort to ensure the plan is put into effect," Romero said. "The whole world is watching Syria -- and the whole world wants to see an end to this intolerable violence."
The UN-backed ceasefire to end 13 months of bloodshed in Syria appeared to be holding after coming into force at daybreak Thursday, despite doubts about the regime's compliance with the peace plan.