Officials from NATO members expressed serious concerns about the tensions that have been brewing ever since Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian aircraft inside Syria. They are also concerned over Turkish threats to deploy ground troops to Syria, where Russia is carrying out an aerial campaign against terrorist groups on Damascus’ request. “The armed forces of the two states are both active in fierce fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border, in some cases just a few kilometers from each other,” German magazine Der Spiegel quoted Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying.
“NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey,” Asselborn added.He said that Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty, which guarantees backing for any of its member countries, in a potential confrontation with a foreign enemy, “is only valid when a member state is clearly attacked.”
French President Francois Hollande also emphasized on Friday that Ankara’s growing involvement in war-ravaged Syria was generating a risk of war between Turkey and Russia.