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NATO’s Watch On Fighting In Syria

  • December 14th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

rasmussen-7311.jpgThe end of the year sees the Assad regime in Syria embattled after nearly two years of conflict degenerating in to civil war.

This week, 13.12.12, the Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (picture), said it was facing collapse.

He was speaking after talks with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, where he thanked the Netherlands for its contribution to a force of Patriot missiles, being set up by NATO in Turkey, along the Syrian border; see EUAustralia Online, “NATO’s missiles for Turkey-Syrian Border”, 6.1.212.

The head of the NATO alliance said the fall of the Syrian government was “only a matter of time”; and for the meantime, he called on it to give up violent acts as it sought a way out, including the use of Scud missiles.

scud-missile-wikipedia.jpgNATO has claimed that the unguided, short-range missiles, up to 200-kilometres range, carrying a 3.5-tonne bomb, have been fired, though it’s been denied by the Syrian government.

The Secretary General said the weapons were “indiscriminate” and were being used in a reckless way that showed “utter disregard” for the lives of Syrian citizens, of whom some 40000 are estimated to have died since protest, and fighting erupted in March last year.

A report from the International Crisis Group has expressed anxiety about the Syrian war spreading beyond the country’s borders.

“Syria’s conflict is leaking out of its borders, but in few places are risks higher than in Lebanon …”, it says.

“It is imperative to shield the country as much as possible and resist efforts by third parties – whether allies or foes of Damascus – to drag the nation in a perilous direction…

“This almost certainly requires a new, more balanced government and commitments by local and regional actors not to use Lebanese soil as an arena in which to wage the Syrian struggle.”

The Crisis Group, based in Brussels and Washington, conducts research and lobbies for the settlement of conflicts by non-violent means.

There were signs this week of a weakening of support for Syria from its principal ally, Russia, with Foreign Ministry spokespersons in Moscow admitting for the first time, that the government of President Bashar el-Assad might fall. The statement was later clarified and modified by the Russian government, (noted 24.12.12)..

International Crisis Group, Brussels, “A Precarious Balancing Act: Lebanon and the Syrian Conflict”, Middle East Report N°132, 22.11.12., (13.12.12).

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Brussels, “NATO Secretary General thanks Dutch Prime Minister for commitment to Alliance”, 13.12.12., (14.12.12).

Reuters, London, “NATO’s Rasmussen believes Syrian government approaching collapse”, 13.12.12., (14.12.12).

Pictures  NATO, wikipedia