October 9, 2019 / 3:17 PM / 9 days ago

Turkey's actions in Syria must be measured - NATO chief

FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gives a news conference on the day the United States is set to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF), in Brussels, Belgium, August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts

ROME (Reuters) - Turkey’s military operation in northeastern Syria must be restrained, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, adding that it was important not to destabilise the region any further.

“Our ally Turkey is at the forefront of the (Syria) crisis and has legitimate security concerns. It has suffered horrendous terrorist attacks and hosts millions of refugees,” he said after meeting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

“I count on Turkey to act with restraint and ensure that any action it may take in northern Syria is proportionate and measured,” he said. “It is important to avoid actions that may further destabilise the region, escalate tensions and cause more human suffering.”

He said Turkey had informed NATO about its military assault and added that he would hold talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Friday.

Turkey, which is a member of NATO, launched its attack just days after U.S. troops had pulled back from the area, with Turkish warplanes and artillery striking Kurdish militia positions in several towns in the border region.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer/Mark Heinrich and Nick Macfie

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