Wednesday, 3 October 2012

North Atlantic Council Meets on Syria Crisis

The North Atlantic Council was convened in emergency session this evening, following the Syrian mortar bombing of a Turkish town and the killing of five Turkish civilians, four of them children. This statement was issued:

North Atlantic Council statement on developments on the Turkish-Syrian border
As stated on 26 June 2012, the Alliance continues to closely follow the situation in Syria. In view of the Syrian regime’s recent aggressive acts at NATO’s southeastern border, which are a flagrant breach of international law and a clear and present danger to the security of one of its Allies, the North Atlantic Council met today, within the framework of Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, and discussed the continuous shelling of locations in Turkey adjacent to the Turkish-Syrian border by the Syrian regime forces. 
The most recent shelling on 3 October 20l2, which caused the death of five Turkish citizens and injured many, constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all Allies.
This is a clear warning to Syria that any escalation of cross border conflict will not be tolerated, as was the Washington DC and NATO sanctioned retaliation by Turkey against Syrian targets. While this meeting was not a result of Turkey invoking NATO's Article 5 common defence guarantee, the statement can be read as a clear warning to Syria that such a move may well follow any further attacks.

Turkey Retaliates Against Syria, Seeks NATO Meeting

After a mortar from Syria struck Turkey and killed a woman and five children, Turkey is reported to have consulted the United States and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, before firing back. It is also reported that Turkey is seeking an urgent NATO meeting on the crisis.

UPDATE: NATO Ambassadors meeting now at NATO HQ (9pm UK time)

The meeting is an Article 4 consultation, not an Article 5 common defence invocation.

Further Update: It is now reported that turkey has struck additional Syrian military targets in Idlib.