NATO chief welcomes ‘progress’ in northeast Syria, aims to build on ceasefire

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NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Wednesday the “progress” in northeastern Syria following the formal agreement to a ceasefire in the region.

“I welcome that we have seen progress in northeastern Syria” and a “fall in violence,” said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg added that it is still too early to judge the outcome of the Russia-Turkey agreement struck in the Black Sea resort of Sochi

"We have seen that it is possible to move towards a political solution. The first requirement ... is to stop the fighting," Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference a day before NATO defence ministers will discuss Syria at NATO headquarters.

"Then we need to move on, building on that, and have a real, negotiated, political solution in Syria," he said.

Stoltenberg also said he had spoken to German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer about her idea to create a security zone in northern Syria, saying he welcomed any proposals on a way towards peace.

Stoltenberg, asked about French President Emmanuel Macron's criticism of NATO's reaction to Turkey's Syria offensive, said differences at the alliance on the issue were "a matter of public record".

He also said it was up to NATO allies to decide individually if they wished to reconsider the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey, adding that defence ministers will discuss the issue on Thursday at a meeting at the NATO headquarters.

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