NATO visits southeast Turkey for Patriot missiles

Last Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 00:37

Ankara: A NATO team assessing possible sites for Patriot missiles to protect Turkey`s border with Syria inspected military installations today in southeast Turkey, the state-run news agency reported.

NATO member Turkey asked allies to deploy the missiles as a defense against any aerial attack from Syria after mortar rounds and shells from Syria struck Turkish territory, killing five people.

Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.

Ankara: A NATO team assessing possible sites for Patriot missiles to protect Turkey`s border with Syria inspected military installations today in southeast Turkey, the state-run news agency reported.

NATO member Turkey asked allies to deploy the missiles as a defense against any aerial attack from Syria after mortar rounds and shells from Syria struck Turkish territory, killing five people.

Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.

"This recommendation is a key element in the Council`s decision-making process," she said, in reference to the North Atlantic Council, the alliance`s governing body that is made up of the ambassadors of all its 28 members.

Romero said "allies with available Patriots have also made clear their intention to augment Turkey`s defenses, subject to national processes."

Germany, the Netherlands and the US have the advanced PAC-3 model Patriots that Turkey wants to intercept ballistic missiles.

Once NATO and the national parliaments in Germany and the Netherlands approve the deployment of the Patriots, it will probably take at least another month before they become operational.

Due to the complexity and size of the Patriot batteries including their radars, command-and-control centers, communications and support facilities they cannot be flown quickly by air to Turkey and will probably have to travel by sea, officials said.

The deployment of the Patriots is also likely to be discussed at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Russia, meanwhile, has come out against the Patriot missile deployment, saying that basing the missiles so close to the border could worsen the bloodshed in Syria.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 00:37

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