Turkey

Turkey’s defense minister to attend NATO meeting

Hulusi Akar to attend NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Feb. 12-13

Gozde Bayar   | 11.02.2020
Turkey’s defense minister to attend NATO meeting

ANKARA

Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar will attend a meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Feb. 12-13, the country’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

Akar will also hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts, the ministry said in a statement.

He was expected to discuss the regional security issues as well as the humanitarian crisis in Idlib de-escalation zone, northwestern Syria.

The meetings will be held at the NATO headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday under the chairmanship of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Earlier Monday at least five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syria.

This followed last week’s attack by regime forces in Idlib which martyred seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military, and injured more than a dozen people.

In retaliation, Turkey has neutralized over 120 Assad regime military personnel since last week.

The Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.

Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.

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