NATO's Stoltenberg defends approach to Turkey's Syria offensive

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday defended his stance on Turkey's military operation against Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria, saying that the military alliance should not lose its unity in the fight against Islamic State.

Splits in the military alliance have emerged after NATO member Turkey began its offensive in Syria last week, with EU governments threatening sanctions against Ankara. Stoltenberg visited Istanbul on Friday.

"We must not put in jeopardy the gains we have made against our common enemy," Stoltenberg said at a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in London, in answer to questions from French and Italian delegates who had challenged what they described as his conciliatory approach to Turkey.

"Turkey is important for NATO ... We risk undermining the unity we need in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State)."