NATO votes to deploy Patriot missiles on Turkey-Syria border
NATO foreign ministers have voted to approve Ankara’s request for Patriot missiles to be deployed on the Turkey-Syria border. Ankara requested the deployment over fears that Syria could attack with missiles and chemical weapons.
The Patriots can be used to intercept missiles and planes.
Officials from the 28-member alliance meeting in Brussels have said that the US-made missiles will be for purely defensive purposes.
“NATO’s position is clear. Any deployment would be to protect turkey. It would be purely defensive in nature. It will in no way support a no fly zone or any offensive operation,” NATO Se
cretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
“I believe that the deployment of patriot missiles will serve as an effective deterrence and therefore deescalate the situation along the Syrian-Turkish border,” Rasmussen continued.
Military sources in Turkey told AFP that 300-400 foreign troops would be deployed to operate the Patriots.
The decision comes just one day after NATO and US President Barack Obama told Syrian President Bashar Assad not to use chemical weapons against his own people.
“I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command, the world is watching, the use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” Obama said in a statement.
“If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” he said.