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NATO’s Missiles For Turkey – Syria Border …

  • December 6th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-foreign-mins-12-12.jpgForeign Ministers of the NATO alliance this week (4.12.12) authorised the deployment of Patriot missiles along Turkey’s border with Syria; responding to fears of a spill-over from civil war in that country.

GRAVE CONCERN

“The situation along NATO’s south-eastern border and the repeated violations of Turkey’s territory raise grave concern”, they said in a communiqué.

“Ministers … welcomed the intention of Germany, the Netherlands and the United States to provide Patriot missile batteries, subject to their respective national procedures.

“Once deployed, the systems will be under the operational command of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) …”

The frontier is just over 900-kilometres and has seen multiple cross-overs of refugees and some military incidents: mortar and artillery rounds fired across the border, and a Turkish air force plane shot down after flying into Syrian air space.

Estimates of the number killed in Syria, since March last year have gone beyond 40000.

Reports have emerged of ethnic tensions growing in some parts, between devotees of  different strands of Islam: Turkish people of the Alawite persuasion, which provides the main base of support for the government in Syria, or Syrian Shi-ites, the identity of most of the thousands who have been fleeing the fighting.

SOLIDARITY HOME AND AWAY

patriot-nato.jpgThe NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the new commitment was a matter of  backing up a member country facing some strife.

“Turkey has asked for NATO’s support, and we stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity,” he said.

patriot-missile-wiki.jpgThe deployment of the missiles, though on the territory of one of the 28 NATO members, marks a further move by the alliance, away from the immediate Atlantic zone based on Europe proper.

The international expedition into Afghanistan is under a NATO command; other commitments have been made outside of immediate home territory, with interventions in Macedonia and Kosovo, and Libya.

Patriot missiles have been used in operations since the time of the first Gulf war in the early 1990s; essentially an anti-aircraft weapon which can also be deployed against  ballistic missiles, with range over 150-kilometres.

Reference

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Brussels, “NATO agrees to augment Turkey’s air-defence capabilities”, 4.12.12. http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_92861.htm, (6.12.12)

Pictures  Wikipedia, NATO, acus.org

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