Statement of the NATO PA President on the situation in Northern Syria and at the Greece-Turkey border

11 March 2020

Brussels 11 March 2020 – The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Attila Mesterhazy (Hungary), issued the following statement on 11 March 2020:

“Even though the ceasefire in Idlib appears to hold and the levels of violence have recently fallen, the security situation in Syria remains very serious and has led to a renewed refugee and migrant crisis. Damascus and Moscow bear primary responsibility for the appalling humanitarian disaster unfolding in Northern Syria. I condemn, in the strongest terms, the indiscriminate bombings by the Assad regime and Russia in Syria, which led to the current situation.  I reiterate my call that the Syrian regime and Russia must allow humanitarian access, respect international law, and back UN efforts. 

Our Assembly has expressed, on numerous occasions, its appreciation of Turkey’s legitimate security concerns and Turkey’s humanitarian role hosting nearly four million refugees. 

I closely monitor the migrant and refugee situation in Northern Syria and on the borders between Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. Avoiding a broader humanitarian disaster is a shared responsibility.  I am, therefore, encouraged by the dialogue between Turkey and the European Union, including the review of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement to identify and resolve differences.

I appreciate and welcome NATO’s role in the region in support of and in solidarity with Allies. This includes naval deployment in the Aegean Sea and continued support to Turkey with defensive missile systems as well as air and naval presence.

Addressing the security situation in Syria and the migrant and refugee crisis remains a top priority for the Assembly. We will review the situation when we meet at our upcoming Spring Session in Kyiv.”