NATO approves missile defenses for Turkey after Syrian "violations" into its territory
Patriot missile launcher
NATO agreed to deploy Patriot missile defenses along Turkey’s border with Syria, it annouced on Tuesday.
The military alliance released a statement, saying: "NATO has agreed to augment Turkey's air defence capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey and to contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the alliance's border."
The decision comes amid growing fears that the Syrian regime is considering using missiles and chemical weapons, which Turkish officials say could stray across the border, as artillery shells have done in the past.
The Patriot defenses, requested last month, would be able to spot and intercept incoming missiles.
After the meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told reporters that foreign ministers of the 28-member military alliance had, “unanimously expressed grave concerns” about the use of chemical weapons.
"Any such action would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law," he said.
NATO’s statement made clear that the deployment was purely defensive, citing “repeated violations of Turkey’s territory” as the reason for approval.
Syria maintains that it would never use chemical weapons against its own people.