WARSAW (Reuters) - NATO will stand by member state Turkey if it comes under attack as a result of the fighting in neighboring Syria, alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
Islamic State militants on Monday raised their flag on the eastern outskirts of the Syrian town of Kobani, a short distance from the Turkish border. Stray fire from fighting around the town has hit Turkish territory.
“The main responsibility for NATO is to protect all allied countries. Turkey is a NATO ally and our main responsibility is to protect the integrity, the borders of Turkey and that is the reason why we have deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey to enhance, to strengthen the airfence of Turkey,” Stoltenberg told a news conference during a visit to Poland.
“Turkey should know that NATO will be there if there is any spillover, any attacks on Turkey as a consequence of the violence we see in Syria,” he said.
Stoltenberg also said NATO was very concerned at the large number of violations the alliance had observed of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.
“We see that there are several violations of the ceasefire. That is something that gives us reason for great concern.
“I will commend the government in Ukraine for doing a lot to both respect the ceasefire but also to contribute to a political solution,” he said. “And it is important that Russia use all its influence to make sure that the ceasefire is also respected by the separatists.”
Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mark Heinrich