Turkey-Syria standoff: Patriot missiles prepared, Kurdish fighters on the border
25 November, 2012
Syria has lashed out at Turkey’s “provocative” request to deploy NATO surface-to-air missiles on the countries’ shared border. The batteries may be installed in a matter of weeks, in a buildup that could further flare tensions in the turbulent zone.
Ankara has asked its NATO partners to station Patriot missile batteries along its southern border, claiming they are needed to protect Turkey’s national security. The system can shoot down aircraft and some missiles at a range of up to 600 kilometers.
The region has seen a number of episodes of cross-border mortar fire in recent months, though Syrian warplanes and gunboats were never reported attacking targets on Turkish territory.
The request was acknowledged by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday, who said that the possible deployment of the missiles was “purely defensive,” and would “serve as a deterrent to possible enemies even thinking of attacks”.