Syrian troops and their allied militia are in a major offensive to recapture ground in western Syria, as NATO says it's ready to send in ground troops to defend neighboring Turkey. Mana Rabiee reports.
Syrian troops and their allied militia are in a major offensive to recapture ground in western Syria. They're backed by a fresh wave of Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships targeting not just Islamic State, but also rebel forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It comes as NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels for an agenda likely dominated by Syria. Over the weekend, Russian jets entered Turkish airspace near northern Syria and officials at the U.S.-led alliance against Islamic State are still smarting from Moscow's incursion. NATO says it's prepared to send troops to Turkey to defend its ally after the violations. And NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reminded reporters the alliance bolstered its rapid response force earlier this year ... and says it hopes to deter any threats to allied nations. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO SECRETARY GENERAL, JENS STOLTENBERG, SAYING: "This is the biggest reinforcement to our collective defense since the end of the Cold War... The most important way to measure the success of NATO is that all NATO allies safe, can trust that NATO is there to protect them." NATO ministers are discussing how to encourage Russia to help resolve the crisis there. They're betting Moscow also wants to avoid being bogged down in a long conflict that's already in its fourth year and killed nearly a quarter of a million people.