On 4 December, NATO approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air-missiles near the Turkish-Syrian borders. NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen commented in Brussels, “NATO’s position is clear. Any deployment would be to protect Turkey. It would be purely defensive in nature. It will in no way support a no fly zone or any offensive operation.”
Turkey’s request was officially made during mid-November. France and Germany supported the deployment of the missiles and stressed that they are going to be used for defensive purposes only. The final approval of NATO’s decision needs to be approved from Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. The three countries are the only ones with available Patriot systems. Foreign Minister of Germany, Guido Westerwelle said he expected “a broad parliamentary backing” and Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans stressed the obligation of Netherlands “as a NATO ally to help protect NATO’s borders.”
Conversely, Russia disagreed with Turkey’s request. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that despite the fact his country recognises Turkey’s right to ask NATO’s help, Moscow “is concerned that the conflict is being increasingly militarised.” In addition, during his visit in Turkey on 3 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the accumulation of weapons on the border with another country does not add to stability.
NATO’s decision comes a day after US President Barack Obama warned Syrian President Bashar Assad not to use any chemical weapons. Olivier Lepick, a chemical weapon expert told to France 24 that “it seems that US drones have retrieved information suggesting that the Syrians manipulated a number of their chemical weapon stockpiles, including two deposits.” However, the Syrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Bouthayna Shaaban denied the accusations saying, “of course Syria has no chemical weapons. They [US] have been talking for years about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But so far, the presence of these weapons has not been confirmed…i would like to say that there are biological, chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East region. They are in Israel, not in Syria.”
Overall, the situation in Syria is getting worse and on Sunday, UN decided to suspend its operation in the country because of the further escalation of violence.