Turkey May Ask NATO to Help with Syria

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

Turkey May Ask NATO to Help with Syria


Byline: Bloomnberg News

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Turkey may seek NATO's support in dealing with Syria as the UN Security Council made clear the Assad regime's truce violations won't prevent the deployment of as many as 300 cease-fire observers.

Turkey may invoke the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's charter provision triggering consultations if a member's security is threatened, Clinton said Thursday in Paris following a meeting of the alliance in Brussels. While there is little sentiment for military intervention to oust Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, involving NATO would add more pressure on the Damascus government.

"We have to keep Assad off-balance by leaving options on the table," Clinton said at the "Friends of Syria" meeting. Turkey has already discussed with NATO "the burden of Syrian refugees on Turkey, the outrageous shelling across the border from Syria into Turkey a week ago, and that Turkey is considering formally invoking Article 4" of the NATO charter.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and his special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, asked the UN Security Council to authorize an expanded mission of unarmed military observers, acknowledging Assad has failed to abide by the cease-fire.

terms of the April 12 cease-fire.

"The past few days, in particular, have brought reports of renewed and escalating violence, including the shelling of civilian areas, grave abuses by Government forces and attacks by armed groups," Ban told reporters in New York.

Few Options

Security Council members have broadly agreed on the need to deploy the force to Syria and are unlikely to be deterred by continuing violence, according to two UN diplomats. For the world body, it provides a means to maintain diplomatic pressure given the opposition by Russia and China to further UN sanctions.

"It ticks a box at a time there are few other options," Richard Gowan, associate director for crisis diplomacy and peace operations at the New York University Center on International Cooperation, said in a telephone interview. "Sometimes a diplomatic initiative can gain a momentum of its own and having a mission there has become a goal in itself."

Violence in Syria has raged for 13 months, killed more than 9,000 people.

"We're in a dilemma," Clinton said in Paris. "We think it's important to get independent sources of observation and reporting on the ground, but we do not want to create a situation where those who are sent in to do this mission themselves are subjected to violence."

Russia Supports Monitors

Tools such as an international arms embargo or sanctions have been blocked by Russia, Syria's closest ally on the Security Council. Russia will support the Syria monitoring mission, Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said yesterday in New York.

Western powers have said they don't intend to repeat last year's Libya campaign, where the UN authorized a NATO-enforced no-fly zone. …

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