NATO has said it is considering a formal request from Turkey to deploy Patriot missiles to help the country defend itself against any Syrian attacks.
Ankara’s bid for the missiles followed talks about how to shore up security on the 560-mile border with Syria after mortar rounds landed on Turkish territory, increasing concerns about the civil war spilling over into Syria’s neighbours. Nato said it would discuss the request “without delay”, while ambassadors from the 28 Nato member countries convened a meeting at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters.
“Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey,” secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday.
“It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along Nato’s south-eastern border.”
Mr Rasmussen has said any missile deployment would be a defensive measure to counter attacks, and not to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.
Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, revealed that he had told his ambassador to Nato to approve Turkey’s request.