Russia has warned against NATO’s possible deployment of Patriot missiles near Turkey’s border with Syria.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday that Turkey’s request for deployment to the Western military alliance “would not foster stability in the region.”
NATO ambassadors met Wednesday to consider Turkey’s request, which followed weeks of talks between Ankara and NATO allies about how to shore up security on its 900 kilometer border to avoid a spillover from the Syrian civil war.
The alliance’s secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the deployment would augment alliance member Turkey’s air defense capabilities and “would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s southeastern border.”
Turkey said Tuesday it had found allies who agreed to supply it with an advanced Patriot missile system. Only the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have the appropriate system available. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he had told his country’s ambassador to NATO to approve Turkey’s request.
Turkey’s border villages have been hit by artillery fire from Syria as forces loyal to Damascus battle rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Rasmussen has said that any missile deployment would be a defensive measure to counter mortar rounds, and not to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. Syrian rebels have called for a no-fly zone as they are almost defenseless against Syria’s air force.