NATO vows to defend its allies

NATO vows to defend its allies

BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
NATO vows to defend its allies

Spokeswoman Carmen Romero says NATO is deeply concerned by events on Turkey’s border with Syria.

NATO said yesterday 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 said. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 11 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.” “The U.N. has also announced that there was a border violation. These are all issues that will be laid down on the table. These are all issues on which we would take steps after holding our last talks,” Erdoğan said. Shots fired from Syria wounded four Syrians and two Turkish staff working at a refugee camp in Turkey on April 9.

Meanwhile, Syrian gunfire targeting refugees trying to cross into Turkey hit a camp on the Turkish side of the border yesterday, the Anatolia news agency reported, the third such incident this week. There were no reports of casualties. The NATO spokeswoman said the alliance fully supports the peace plan put forward by U.N.-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.” Meanwhile, Erdoğan is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia late yesterday for talks with Saudi officials expected to focus on the crisis in Syria.

Expert: Support rebel army

A prominent United States expert on Syrian affairs has called for American support for the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) rather than the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). In the latest issue of U.S. magazine New Republic, the Syria expert for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy David Schenker wrote the SNC qualified as a “hapless, ineffective and increasingly Islamist” entity. The FSA, however, is “taking positive steps to try and establish a more unified command.” “It would be so much easier for Washington if the Syrian opposition was disciplined and united ... at least before they took power,” he said.