NATO warns Assad: World will react immediately if Syria uses WMDs
International concern over Syria’s intentions has been heightened by reports that its chemical weapons have been moved and could be prepared for use; NATO to send Patriot missiles to Turkey.
NATO told Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday that any use of chemical weapons in his fight against encroaching rebel forces would be met with an immediate international response.
The warning from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen came as Syrian forces bombarded rebel districts near Damascus in a sustained counter-attack to stem rebel gains around Assad’s power base.
NATO foreign ministers will agree on Tuesday to send Patriot missiles to beef up Turkey’s air defenses and calm Turkey’s fears that it could come under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria, diplomats said.
Turkey last month asked NATO for Patriots, which can be used to intercept missiles and planes, after weeks of talks with allies about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, which is immersed in civil war.