While Iraq remains an unresolved problem for NATO, the Alliance decided to expand its mission to this Middle Eastern country. In addition, the defence ministers of bloc members have called on Syrian regime to halt attacks in Idlib.
NATO presence plays a key role in Iraq, taking over some activities from the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh/ISIS. On Wednesday, the alliance’s secretary-general announced a few news at a meeting of defence ministers at its Brussels headquarters. “We need to be able to conduct operations,” said Jens Stoltenberg and revealed the details.
Stoltenberg reiterated the ministers agreed on the principle of “expanding and scaling up to do more” in Iraq, adding the military bloc would work out the details in the coming months.
The NATO chief stressed that alliance had consulted with the Iraqi government and the military alliance would only remain in the country with their consent. In fact, NATO is focused on “defeating our common enemy,” Daesh/ISIS, and making sure they never come back, SG said.
During a meeting on Thursday, the NATO defence ministers also discussed the security and humanitarian situation in northwestern Syria, one of the most fragile zones in the world.
NATO chief reaffirmed NATO’s crucial role in Idlib
Stoltenberg reaffirmed that NATO is “very concerned” about the situation in Idlib, which is a “consequence of the brutal use of violence, horrendous attacks against innocent civilians and indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets.”
“We call on the Russian-backed Assad regime to stop all these attacks, which are killing innocent civilians,” he said.
Regarding the security situation in Afghanistan, the secretary-general confirmed that the alliance fully supported U.S.-led peace efforts. It is now up to the “Taliban to demonstrate that they are aiming and willing to reduce violence,” NATO chief said.
On the second day of their meeting Thursday, the defence ministers will further discuss security and stability in the Middle East and the alliance’s response to Russian missile deployments.